Over the last year or so since I announced Little White Earbuds was scaling back, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people — artists, DJs, readers in general — who have told me how valuable this website has been to their musical development. They’ve told me that our reviews really struck them, because they were written with the aim of educating people and not creating arbitrary rankings between records. They’ve extolled the virtue of our nearly 300 podcasts for bringing new talents to light, giving platforms for their favorite artists, and providing our writers a chance to share their tastes in a very personal fashion. They’ve gushed about our interviews which strayed far beyond the standard questions and asked artists and thinkers to really share their thoughts and feelings with a clued-in audience. And our charts, well, they too were another opportunity for us to bring awareness to the quality music we had the extraordinary privilege of parsing through.
It’s been an incredibly moving year for me. Sometimes sitting here in Chicago I felt like all the work we’d done was just fired off into the void of the Internet without making a difference for anyone. A nice comment here or dozen Facebook likes there would suggest that wasn’t entirely true. But it took hearing it from some of you in real life, to my face, to realize that LWE truly made a difference in dance music culture whether or not we were able to perceive it. It’s incredibly reassuring for me; Lord knows there wasn’t much financial success to prove that was the case.
Coming to terms with this previously hidden success has given me the strength and conviction to finally put a capstone on Little White Earbuds. It’s not that LWE is no longer needed — the sad faces I’ve seen after telling people of the site’s impending closure assures me of this — but I feel like our work here, specifically, is done. The more than 30 people who contributed to LWE over its ten year lifespan have all moved on to do other important (and better paid) work. A few of our staffers, like Jordan Rothlein, Will Lynch, and Andrew Ryce, now do this work full time for Resident Advisor, and I’m so proud of them. And these days I run three record labels (Argot, Tasteful Nudes, and Smart Bar‘s label,Northside ’82) and try to DJ for people, which all require a hell of a lot of time and effort to do up to my standards.
So it’s time to move on, to let a decade’s worth of hard work stand on its own in a miniature library that someone out there may find useful over the years. As a small parting gift, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of my favorite articles we published on LWE. These are the articles that made me proud to be own and operate this crazy little website — the articles that gave me the personal reassurance that all this work meant something, somewhere. I hope you find something you overlooked or remember a piece that touched you the first time around. I hope you share them with your friends — not for our sake, but because something might change someone’s life, even in a tiny way.