Emilie Friedlander, former deputy features editor at The Fader, is joining Vice Media's Thump as editor-in-chief, Billboard has learned exclusively.
Friedlander will replace former editor-in-chief Zel McCarthy, who joined Beatport as VP of Media in July. Prior to spending three years at The Fader, she founded music publication and events collective AdHoc and was co-editor of Pitchfork's Altered Zones.
Friedlander's arrival at Thump comes at a critical time for Vice's dance music and culture channel, which has gone global with 6 languages in 9 markets and partnered with more than 60 global events -- including Sacramento's forthcoming TBD Fest this month -- via its Thump Presents event brand.
Billboard sat down with Friedlander to find out what she intends to bring to the new position:
What drew you to Thump and what do you hope to bring to the new role?
Something that really drew me to the site was the international focus. The fact that we have editorial teams in 9 different countries -- we recently started one in Colombia -- really excited me. I’m someone who’s very interested in global dance music and I want to take advantage of that reach to tell stories about emerging artists and subcultures that nobody else is talking about. I feel like Vice has a great track record at sort of starting conversations about things rather than just being reactive to what everybody else is talking about. That really excited me.
At The Fader, I was editing a lot of the long form coverage there and also writing a lot of the long form profiles. I think I wrote four cover stories there, two really big magazine features. I have a journalism degree as well, so I’m definitely a literary person. My goal is to make Thump the destination for the best writing and reporting in the electronic space. So expect a lot of great feature profiles and investigative pieces. Expect cover story size profiles with great photography and great writing.
What other factors play into your future vision for Thump?
I’m probably from the more underground side of the spectrum musically speaking. I’ve done a lot of work covering emerging artists and seeing them go from unknown to mainstream audiences. So that’s really worked for me, finding the breaking talent around the world. I want Thump to become a destination for that. I want people to log on to the site and find all the good music they need to know about in this particular arena.
I’m also interested in talking about where electronic music crosses over to the wider musical conversation. Maybe that’s because it’s crossing over to the world of pop or hip hop -- which is something we see happening more and more these days. Like, you see a lot of barriers between high and low, avant garde and mainstream breaking down. I feel like journalism has made a lot of strides lately in writing intelligently about pop and the whole poptimism idea, but sometimes I think where it’s lacking is learning to write intelligently about EDM and understand what EDM and its popularity can tell us about society and that’s a challenge I’d really like to take on as well.
Electronic music can have the reputation of being kind of a boy’s club. I think that Zel did a really great job of tearing down that assumption, fostering a very gender equal space and politically aware space and being home to as many divergent cultural perspectives as possible and I really want to carry that torch.
How does your target demographic consume media these days? How will that inform your approach?
People aren’t just reading magazines and sitting at laptops and reading articles -- people are spending more and more time on their phones consuming through social media. I think that it’s very, very important to use social media as kind of the connecting thread between our site and the audience. By default, our staff are people who love music and they’re out and about globally and going to the best parties and the best festivals. We love leveraging these platforms to sort of make them feel like they’re there. My hope at the publication is to make if feel like Thump is a universe and people can participate in that universe by logging on. We also hand over our social media to artists a lot, beause if someone is going to a festival that we’re really into, we’ll have them guide us through it. I think you’re going to see a lot more on the social, especially on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m really into the intimacy that it creates. It's really, really special.