The Next Big Thing

The NBT email network

This is the homepage of the NBT email network.

NBT is the Next Big Thing, a mailing list for freelance music journalists and music photographers of all kinds. See The NBT story.

To join the list, fill in the form below. Our apologies about the convoluted prose in the computer-generated bits of this page.

Links for list members

(The current archive is only available to the list members.)

As an experiment, we're providing list members with a list of other members' email addresses.
(The subscribers list is only available to the list members.)

Enter your address and password to visit the subscribers list:

Address: Password:   

Go to your control panel - suspend emails, etc

To unsubscribe from NBT, get a password reminder, or change your subscription options enter your subscription email address:

If you leave the field blank, you will be prompted for your email address

The NBT list stylesheet

NBT is currently "moderated".

The job of the "moderators" - the list administrators - is to check applications to join the list - if you're unfortunate enough to be called Rupert Murdoch, we're going to want documentary evidence you're not him. With this in mind, please remember to provide information when you apply to join that will enable the list administrators to check your bona fides. Please tell us about clients and the titles to which you have contributed and contribute, and links to examples of your work online. This is very greatly appreciated and speeds up the application process. Last, please let NBT know how you heard about us. Tell us who told you about us - the name of somebody already in the forum, a college tutor (name and shame) or if somebody else recommended NBT to you. Or where you read something about NBT - maybe in another forum. Or perhaps you just got NUJ-curious and landed here.

The list stylesheet continues to evolve. To start with, on-topic messages include those about:

  • pay and conditions of work
  • relations with clients in general
  • tips about work on offer
  • queries relating to PR contacts, release dates, etc.
  • anything pertaining to copyright matters, particularly to alert other list members to "rights-grab" type documents you may have received from publishers
  • tips about work-related, "royalty-like" income streams
  • applied pedantry of all kinds - when was Gong's last gig, or did they just forget to er, wossname?
  • getting NUJ recognition from publishers etc
  • anything else that's not too far off-topic, really...

Messages will not be distributed which:

  • are actionably defamatory, obscene, criminally blasphemous or just too complicated to moderate for legal reasons;
  • contravene the NUJ's Code of Conduct;
  • have degenerated into "flame wars";
  • are over 2500 words long; or
  • attempt to include anything that's not plain text

NOTE that you must be careful and precise when reporting problems with late- or non-payment. The worst libel you can utter about a limited company or plc is to suggest that it may be insolvent. Reporting specific, documented problems - that you invoiced for this work on that date, and were not paid by this date - is helpful.

Please keep the content of messages you receive from NBT confidential - and see also The NBT story.

The plain-text-only rule serves to keep the time taken to download list messages to a minimum. It also means that it is impossible (given the current state of technical knowledge and dastardly invention) for viruses to propagate through the list. The program that runs the list also takes all plausible steps to stop your email address being "harvested" by spam merchants.


Joining the NBT network

Join ("subscribe to") NBT by filling in the following form. Please note that this form generates an email which will be sent to the list when your application has been approved. It is therefore a good idea to give enough information under the heading "Please introduce yourself to list members" to ensure that other list members get an idea of who you are, what you do and so on. You don't need to enter a full CV - just imagine you had bumped into a fellow music freelance at a gig somewhere and they had asked, 'So what do you do, then?' Like it says above, please supply information about clients and the titles to which you have contributed and contribute, and links to examples of your work online - your website, your blog, those divine examples of your prose or photographic portfolio. It will also allow the list administrators to verify that you are a bona fide music freelance writer or photographer and will speed up the approval process. So please do answer reasonably fully - simply putting "journalist" in that box will mean you being asked to apply again. And don't forget to tell us where you heard about NBT. What you write will be your introduction to the circle and the first stuff the circle reads about you. Advertise your wares and wheres.

List membership is open to anyone who contributes work on music topics in a freelance capacity to any title, regardless of whether they solely, mainly or occasionally cover music, and regardless of whether they have another job, as long as they DO NOT:

1 - commission music freelances in any capacity whatsoever

2 - work, either full-time or part-time, as a salaried employee of a music title or on a day rate basis at a music title, or for a title that publishes music coverage, or for a company that publishes titles that cover music

You should only post messages to the list from the email address you give in the form. For the moment at least, list members will see the address you give on your messages.

You will be sent email requesting confirmation, to prevent others from gratuitously subscribing you. Once confirmation is received, your request will be held for approval by the list moderator. You will be notified of the moderator's decision by email. This is also a private list, which means that the list of members is not available to non-members.

Your name:
You belong to:

Hold down or 'Apple' key to select more than one
If "other", what? Organisation name
Please introduce yourself to the list members:
Your email address:

The NBT story

The list began in 2000 when freelances contributing to the late Music365 website decided to get together to resist a particularly nasty copyright grab. Since then, it's become a general talking-shop for matters pertaining to music freelancing, but the increased difficulty in dealing with a succession of mail hosting sites and the gradual dwindling of members forced a rethink.

Early in 2004, the Freelance Industrial Council of the National Union of Journalists agreed to provide web space and pay for the software expertise required to get the list running properly again. In return for their help, and to ensure the list is as useful as possible, membership has been opened up beyond ex-365-ers.

The intention is to provide a forum in which music freelances can discuss problems, share information, gripe about pay and commissioning editors who never get back to them, and generally feel less isolated than we all tend to, stuck behind our individual keyboards and lacking the interaction office-based workers have.

Given the sometimes sensitive nature of working matters discussed, full-time members of editorial staff are not allowed to join, even if they do some additional freelance work. This is to ensure that everyone on the list feels free to discuss problems with particular publishers without fear that their comments may be being passed back to staff, and that no staff member, however well-intentioned, would feel compromised by receiving such messages.

It is also expected that all list members will treat all list messages in the strictest confidence, and will not pass on the contents of any list emails - whether they appear potentially sensitive or not - to non-members. The only exception to this rule is where permission has been obtained in writing from the author of the material concerned. Anyone found to have breached list traffic confidentiality will be removed from the list.

While most list members are based in London, and the discussion is weighted towards the UK media, membership is open to anyone involved in the music media, regardless of where they happen to be in the world, or where the titles they contribute to are based.

You do not have to be a member of the NUJ to be a member of NBT; several list members are NUJ members, though, and in general, the list administrators would recommend it!

If you have any comments, suggestions or expertise you think would help make the most of the list, please contact

Similarly, if you know of someone who would benefit from joining NBT, please either direct them to this page - the easiest address to give for it is - or send their email address to

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Last modified: 16 Oct 2007. © 2004-2007 Mike Holderness & Angus Batey.
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