Being About Bi'ness

Okay, a few minutes ago (The current time is 10:40pm EST, 1/12/10) I received a request from a young brother trying to get a review on his CD. He sent me his bio, a picture and link as to where I could purchase his new CD.

I hit him back with an e-mail advising him as to where he could either send me a link to download the music files or send me a physical CD. His response was that the CD was on sale at 9the site in the original e-mail).

I tried to explain to him that reviewers don't buy CDs, artists and labels give us copies of their work and we listen to it, write a review and hopefully influence other folks to buy it/ listen to it.

He quickly replied that he's in business to sell his CDs not give the away and that I was the third reviewer that he approached who tried to get a free CD, and that's it's wrong for reviewers like me to try to take advantage of struggling cats trying to make it in the business. My reply was that I understood his situation and that he should try to get somebody who already bought the CD to review it.

I realize that I've been bumping around in the music business for close to 26 years, starting in high school when I would go annoy the folks at the recording studios and small indie labels all over New York and ask all kinds of questions about record production, promotion, marketing, distribution and so forth. I'm thankful for the patience of folks like Bobby Taylor (Taylor-Boy Entertainment), Bill Adler (Initially of Rush Management), Tony Marshall (Passion/ York Records), and the folks working at Powwow Records, Strong City Records, Profile, and Tommy-Boy. One thing that they all told me: The value of the promo-copy/ give-away. Giving copies of CDs and materials to DJs, reviewers, and folks in influential positions is part of the business/ budget.

Okay, let' say for a minute that maybe he didn't have access to these people, and somehow managed to by-pass the myriad of websites on the music business and marketing/peddling your own recordings, let's try common sense!!! Waaay back, when singles were still on vinyl and studio and pressing costs made indie record production to inaccessible for many people, you had to distribute hundreds - thousands of promo copies to record pools, radio, reviewers, etc., it would only stand to reason that now, in the digital age, where CDs are recorded and produced on laptops and the market is saturated, the give-away is even more essential.

One thing that I remain tired of is folks blaming their ignorance on "being about business." Business is not short-sighted, rude or unprofessional. Also, for those looking to break into the business as indie artists, if you can't afford to give away copies of your product, you can't afford to be in business. Plain and simple!

NEXT TOPIC: Business Phone Etiquette.