AllenLowe

Integrity in the Music Media:

58 posts in this topic

so - the blues reissue box was reviewed by an on-line Classical mag. Reviewer didn't like it, that's ok, that's how it goes.

So I send an email response to the review - and I get an email back from the editor who tells me they would be happy to do a positive interview with me for the next issue of the mag - but as part of a package deal in which I take out two full page (paid) advertisements.

cripes, I thought for a minute - is this legal? Should I contact the attorney general? Another payola scandal?

trying not to burn bridges, as I usually do, I politely declined. But I find this whole thing disgusting.

Edited by AllenLowe

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That is terrible.

Zero editorial integrity. The publication should be exposed.

That's worse than the fucking national inquirer -- at least they make no bones about what they do.

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Wow. You think you can be too cynical--but I guess you can't. :blink:

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Did the guy at least sound embarrassed by what he was proposing?

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And he'd have run the ads on the same issue as the positive review...

You should have accepted. Now we'd never know if he'd have asked you to write the positive review yourself.

F

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cripes, I thought for a minute - is this legal? Should I contact the attorney general? Another payola scandal?

trying not to burn bridges, as I usually do, I politely declined. But I find this whole thing disgusting.

It is disgusting, and they should be outed and shamed.

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I was told by a musician who wanted to submit his CD to Jazz Times that the magazine responded that to get a review he had to take out an ad. That seemed fairly unethical to me.

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I wonder if this is SOP at this outfit -- they do a drive-by critique, the subject of the review contacts them to correct the record or whatever, and the editor makes a peace offering involving an ad sale. If so, yeah, it sounds not just highly unethical, but illegal. The writer of the review might not be in the loop, but it still kicks the legs out from under anything he wrote.

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1) he did not sound the least bit embarrassed, it appeared to be business as usual -

2) it did make me wonder if I'd been set up, though I don't really think so. But it certainly could embarass them if I went public, though I am more interested in whether they broke the law; this smacks of classic payola.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Allen, it's nearly lunchtime--I'll give you a nice review for a really good sammich. :crazy:

Edited by ghost of miles

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mmmmmmm...........how about a donut?

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so - the blues reissue box was reviewed by an on-line Classical mag. Reviewer didn't like it, that's ok, that's how it goes.

Please set me straight: What are the really, really superlative qualifications of contributors to CLASSICAL music mags when it comes to reviewing early blues?

Not that being really sympathetic to the music would automatically result in a positive or rave review, but it certainly is an essential ingredient to an in-depth understanding of what you are supposed to review.

Wonder what reviews of classical music would turn out like if you were to review that music from a JAZZ (or rock or whatever) angle.

As for the rest: Disgusting! And a case for big, fat whistleblowing IMHO.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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So much for the wall of separation between the advertising and editorial departments. Let me know

of this outfit so I'll be sure to avoid it.

They probably loved Nigel Kennedy's attempt to play jazz.

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the review was actually pretty dumb, but I figured the reviewer is entitled to her opinion (she said Bix was a terrible blues player; criticized me for not including people who are actually included in later boxes; hates the Whiteman Band, which I like; though I put too much schlock in the first set - I think she didn't like some of the minstrel stuff) -

ok, I shall reveal - it was Fanfare Magazine.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Side note:

With no small dose of irony, the reviewer's main criticism that this or that track should not have been included because they aren't examples of the blues ignores what I understand to be the basic premise of your entire project Allen -- that the blues emerged from a fairly broad range of musics.

There are tracks on Vol. 1 which are meant to show various musics that hint at the blues, various converging trends that later evolved into the blues, but these tracks are not meant to be examples of the blues per se in its latter form(s), obviously. She seems to miss this point entirely, which seems like kind of a big deal.

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yes, she did tend to miss the point that I was questioning, in the project, the whole blues concept. I was just, in this thread, trying to keep that separate from the editor's actions, which bothered me almost as much as the bad review. Opinion is one thing, ethics another -

Edited by AllenLowe

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the review was actually pretty dumb, but I figured the reviewer is entitled to her opinion (she said Bix was a terrible blues player; criticized me for not including people who are actually included in later boxes; hates the Whiteman Band, which I like; though I put too much schlock in the first set - I think she didn't like some of the minstrel stuff) -

ok, I shall reveal - it was Fanfare Magazine.

Good for you for outing them. I've heard of this practice at some other music magazines too. Whenever you read a review that sounds like a press release and you see a corresponding ad nearby, there's a good bet that the ad-for-review deal happened.

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There's no danger of me subscribing to Fanfare...and I like classical music.

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a few years ago the NY Times Arts and Leisure section did a big story about a Barbara Streisand concert - and there about a page later was a big ad for the concert - probably woulda been there anyway, but still, it looked very strange.

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This is SOP. Come on, Allen, did you forget that check you sent me for the Jews In Hell review?

Besides, doesn't anyone read Bob Rusch's Cadence & You column? :lol:

Edited by Jay

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When my Art Ensemble box was issued in 1993 I bought an ad in DB and a feature review ran in the mag. At that point it was mail order only and I complained to the reviewer about not including my address. He said it was deleted by an editor - maybe they didn't know I had and ad. Since then, I have not had a single review in the magazine, unless I missed them. :mellow:

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This is all depressing. I can't say I'm surprised, but its just so obnoxious. I haven't read DB in years, but I assume it still purports to be a/the leading jazz publication? Pathetic.

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I'm not about to defend these sorts of practices ...

But I'm familiar with this world from my newspaper career, so know that this sort of thing is SOP. As entertainment editor of a major newspaper, I went through countless lunch-time* footsies with record companies and promoters, never IIRC promising coverage in return for ad space bought; more it was in return for access to the artists and preference for future interviews etc etc.

It may seem to some of you to be splitting hairs, but favours were never done that involved favourable reviews. They were and are sacrosanct.

That seems to be the case here - the mag was not, as far as I can tell, promising a favourable review in return for expenditure on ads. That's how it was in my world, anyway. I'm sure the mileage varies elsewhere. And that REALLY would stink.

*They always paid, oh yes ...

Edited by kenny weir

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Allen, if it's any consolation:

No one gives a rat's posterior about critics anymore. Critics' opinions don't carry the same weight they did decades ago, even though the critics have probably put on weight themselves. ;) People who would care enough about music to buy the collections you compile would read about them on sites like this, or read Amazon reviews, etc.

If there is a new release that I'm interested in, I can determine pretty quickly if I should buy it or not. I don't worry about what Robert Cristgau thinks.

The days of the almighty music critic are gone. So don't sweat it.

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Allen, I just read the review, and this was my favorite part:

"...I could understand how just “some guy who collects records” could sit around and play these things without cringing (I’ve met several of these), but I find it puzzling why Lowe, a professional jazz musician, inflicts so much pop drivel on the listener and then makes such comments as “I like it, so there.”

You couldn't PAY for a better line than that.

That sentence alone sealed the deal for me.

Can I give you my credit card number?

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