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 Everett True

How to insult a music critic

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I find it incredibly insulting to be sent links to streams of music.

1. It doesn’t cost anything to send a download link for an MP3.

2. I don’t get paid for writing about music here – and yet there is still clearly some sort of financial or cultural gain to be had from having Collapse Board recommend an artist, otherwise why would PRs contact us? In which case, why are they treating us like shit before we’ve even had a chance to listen to the music? They want something that would, for example, cost a few hundred bucks if it was a professional writing a press release. They’re not even prepared to send a couple of worthless (monetary value) MP3s in return.

And I’m not even talking about stuff being sent out ahead of release ‘schedule’. But, if I was:

3. If record companies have that little respect for me they think I’ll ‘leak’ their precious fucking music then why contact me in the first place?

Retard cheapskates.

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Collapse Board has been contacted a couple of times by the Digital Promotions department of a major Australian record company, wanting to know who we are and what we’re about so they can add us to their media list. They want quite a bit of info, actually. And if we can supply them with the requested info, then they “may be able to explore review opportunities”. They’re:

happy to send [us] our list of forthcoming albums. This doesn’t make them available for you to download however.

I feel so privileged to be part of this great music industry.

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It’s simple enough. When you do ask music critics if they want to review your music, just give them the option of downloading it as well. Send a link to the Bandcamp or YouTube or whatever, sure. But also give them that option. It seems a fair exchange.

Thing is, I don’t even want the physical release, 199 times out of 200. I just want to be able to access the music without having to be tied to the Internet, and be able to go back and listen to it afterwards.

10 Responses to How to insult a music critic

  1. Sophie July 11, 2012 at 5:19 am

    It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Some companies/record labels do a better job than others with this kind of stuff. I loathe the Play MPE streamer thingy (Universal and Epitaph use it) and companies who want my whole life story, career goals and basically my Last.FM history before they grant me access to their shitty stream.

  2. Everett True July 11, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Amen, Sophie

  3. Joseph Kyle July 11, 2012 at 5:35 am

    That’s when you invoke the “I don’t review streams” policy. I agree, Sophie, I hate that, too, and have found that if they really want you to cover it, they’ll send you…something.

  4. Princess Stomper July 11, 2012 at 5:38 am

    To be fair, I find streams convenient – they make up for the shelves of crappy CDs I got sent back in the day that I hated anyway. It’s quicker and easier to stream something and doesn’t take up space in the hard drive if I then find out I don’t like it. There’s one company that sends me emails almost every single day (mostly youtube links of their acts) and I dislike 99% of it, but I prefer they continue to contact me for the 1% I do like.

    Of course, there have been occasions when a label has emailed me a download link to an album I’ve absolutely loved, and I live for those days, but on those occasions the album was usually watermarked, which covers all bases.

  5. Everett True July 11, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Yeah, but it’s straightforward enough to send a link for the Bandcamp, and then throw in the download afterwards – so you have the dual option of listening and/or downloading. I don’t want to download a ton of shit just to find out I only like 1% of it, either. But there is such a thing as doing yr research, and if someone’s sent you a massive file for downloading, you can just go check ’em out on YouTube or whatever first.

    It’s most frustrating when someone sends you a link to a stream that you really like, and then for whatever reason won’t pony up the music itself. (This can often be for entirely non-sinister or manipulative reasons: on Collapse Board level, more often than not it can be cos they got stoned or otherwise engaged and it went way out of their minds. No, Negative Guest List. I’m not looking at you. Not at all. :-)) Right now, I have a Song of the Day on hold because I ain’t getting that download link it would take about 10 seconds to arrange.

    Shaun from Tenzenmen has it about perfect: he’ll send the links to the streams (and quite often a few free download links) and then follow through immediately if you want more.

  6. daz July 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I listen to music on the move via my phone. I review while on the bus, in the car, walking about. Sitting down on the internet to listen to a stream never works – the other more interesting shit on the internet is too much of a distraction.

  7. Everett True July 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Spot on, Daz.

  8. golightly July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t mind what they send me but I was pissed off when I got sent something to review that I felt slagged me off to my own face for being a woman. That’s where I draw the line… beyond the obvious offensiveness of that, the fact is that I felt that it was unlikely the band’s PR had any clue about who I was or what I write about. If I had to generalize, I’d say CB was a feminist site, so sending me that seemed a bit of a dumb move.
    Anyway I was equally unimpressed that I had to review the cults record from a live stream which was I think on the guardian website… why did they get to have it and not me? Thought that took the piss… but thankfully, I actually went out and bought it on CD and it was worth every penny… was the soundtrack to my summer last year.
    Sitting at a computer to review sort of feels like you’re only getting half the experience.
    As a musician, right now I’m working on a recording of a new song. With each mix, I am putting it on my mp3 player and taking it out for walks and in the car and all sorts of places really. I believe this is helping the editing process and also it’s trying it out properly… as a part of my life. How do you know if something’s good or not if you don’t get to try it out yourself? Get a critic’s opinion? What if the critic’s in the same boat?

  9. golightly July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    And anyway, if they gave an iTunes download, it wouldn’t be possible to leak it. So it’s just cheeky to the extreme.

  10. Richard July 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Totally agreed.
    Really glad you posted this actually. Great comments too.

    Apple’s polished & on the desk, teacher 🙂

    I always compose/create reviews in my head when I’m ironing or in the bath, not sweating out some response in the small pit where my PC is.
    Doing it the streaming way feels like you’re taking part in a race against an unseen competitor when that happens…
    I like streams as you can get a quick idea of what is coming your way, and
    I find a lot of PR companies obliging, (even vinyl now and again) but then it’s nice to be enabled to create how you want isn’t it?

    What boils my piss is when someone sends you all these bloody questions about things that are utterly intangible or mercurial – to paraphrase – “what music do you like” “what is your target audience” as if I’d know, or care for that matter. I don’t see myself as a passive, auto-responsive electronic unit just yet.

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