[Dixielandjazz] CD Reviewers - Redux

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 16 14:11:29 PST 2004

Here is a comment on the recent tongue in cheek article about record
"Reviewers" from a pal.

Steve Barbone

I have been at Jazziz Mag. when the reviewers actually pick what CD's they
will review.  Here is how it is REALLY done.
First, The packaging has to be easy to open, not fancy (If it is, it
automatically goes in the trash pile.  That means that you are not
affiliated with a label and you want your CD to stand out. Well it does
stand out so much that you won't have a chance! Also, nothing scented
please!) It also means you don't know how to send things to a reviewer.
They get close to 100 CD's a week. An easy to open package is all they will
consider be cause they don't want to spend an hour opening CD's.  How would
you feel if you have one day a week to do this and you spend half of it
opening the package.  Get it!  One half of the CD's sound terrible, and one
half are OK to excellent.  Those are out of the ones they open!
Second, If you are self producing your own CD DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT put
your picture on the CD cover.  No one wants to look at anyone they don't
know.  It also says that you couldn't come up with any creative idea for
your cover which means most likely your CD will be the same!  Again, the
trash pile!
Third, Be sure your contact info is in an easy to see place.  If you send an
info sheet, make it one page and to the point.  I saw a lavishly produced
info pack that was very expensive to produce with NO contact info.  No phone
#, no e-mail address, no snail mail address, nothing! Be sure that you get
back fast if you are contacted about any follow up info.  There is a lable
(That I will not name, but almost all of you would know it if I told you
what it is!) that doesn't use e-mail, and will NEVER get back to the
reviewer if they have a question.)  Those cd's are NEVER reviewed, EVER!
 Forth, Be sure your first cut on your CD is the best cut.  The CD's are put
in the CD player and they listen to literally 10-15 seconds .  By that time
they say, take that off, off to the next cut, or they listen to the tune.
That is really how much time that they spend on it.  The first tune has to
really grab you.  Remember, these people listen to hundreds of cuts a month.
They are all on deadlines and don't have the luxury to listen for pleasure.
(Most work per piece meaning they only get paid per article. It's just like
a playing gig, you get your one or two reviews a month and that's all you're
paid for.  The editors also in most cases work part time because there is no
money in Jazz publications either, just like in most of the music business.)
They are all paid per hour or piece, with no benefits. (I know most of you
will not shed a tear about that.)
These people really like to help Jazz performers and especially unknown
ones.  You probably won't agree with me, but when the majority of the
performers don't know the rules, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

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