new music now
The Awl introduces Awl Music, a streaming video site powered by Tumblr, curatedby editors and friends
I thought I couldn’t possibly love The Awl any more. I was wrong.
The site, founded in 2008 by David Cho (formerly of College Humor and Radar, now at Grantland) and ex-Gawker writers Alex Balk and Choire Sicha, has spawned two wildly successful sister sites — humor blog Splitsider and lady-focused The Hairpin — that I check near-religiously. And now they’ve introduced two properties — AwlMusic.tv and The Wirecutter — that take a new approach to the way we discover our favorite things.
AwlMusic.tv is basically what I imagine Infinite Jest’s hypnotizing titular video might be like; the site’s perfectly simple design showcases music videos curated by Awl writers and friends, bright, bouncy Beyonce dance jams bookended by underground hip-hop artists like Quelle Chris and indie bands like Titus Andronicus.
Editor Sicha introduced AwlMusic to readers in a newsletter, describing the site as:
...a weird little project of ours with Eric Spiegelman. It’s curated by guest DJs and ourselves, like a radio station, and it plays in random order our latest queue of favorite songs. (Yes, you can skip.) We’re getting the jump on The Future here, when we all have Google TVs or whatever. But really? It’s totally just for fun and giggles, and uses a dreamy interface. (You can also see it in action at Throw Your Media, where Eric displays all his favorite web films.) It’s technically a Tumblr even, so you can “follow” it like the kids do, from the “inside.”
The Wirecutter actually launched last year, and is more a list than a blog; editor Brian Lam rounds up the best gadgets in every category (from laptops to “car stuff”). Think of it as your go-to guide if you know what you need but don’t know who does it best.
Both sites are natural fits in a media family known for accessibly intellectual writing and endearing irreverence (they’d never let a post on the UK slip through without a pointed jab at “Knifecrime Island”).
Balk, Cho and Sicha founded TheAwl.com after all three ended stints at now-defunct Radar; they launched without investors, maintaining the site as a labor of love. Within a year, reported the New York Times, they were up to a half million unique visitors a month with a projected annual revenue surpassing $200,000; when The Hairpin launched in 2010, it was partially financed by Ann Taylor.
The Awl, The Hairpin and, in particular, Splitsider have established themselves as expert voices in their respective areas of interest; we can’t wait to see the impact AwlMusic has on our listening habits. (Prediction: I will never not be listening.)