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August 04, 2005



I'm so weird about packaging when it comes to promos. If I like the packaging of a record, I'm more likely to listen to it first, and more likely to give it a second or third try. Subpop has consistently appealing packaging, so I find that the stuff they send me gets some kind of preferential treatment, though it hasn't been enough to get some of their okay-but-not-great stuff on my site, though giving the A Frames a couple extra shots translated into me getting way into the album to the point that it's easily going to end up on my Pazz and Jop ballot at the end of this year.

There's a lot of really bad, amateurish packaging, lots of stuff that looks like it was made specifically to go into the bargain bin. Sometimes the music is good, but usually not. Usually the good artists have some taste in visual art and design. This isn't to be confused with DIY stuff - I totally favor that stuff, and have a similar kind of underdog appreciation when it comes to people who send me handmade packaging or virtually none at all.


I basically agree with you 100%. Even on the packaging thing -- I could care less!

The most important thing is that a band is friendly and approachable. Mp3s are always great - I listen to music more on my ipod than anywhere else so streams are kind of annoying in that way and mp3s are perfect. Guest lists are even better! Bottom line is that no one is paying us to listen to anything so the best way to get us to listen to your stuff is to BE NICE! And being GOOD doesn't hurt either. The best thing is when a band appreciate you the way you appreciate them. I'm pretty sure that's the key to getting your stuff mentioned anywhere at any time. A thank you goes a loooong way. When Ghostland played that show for us they could not have been more appreciative and psyched about it. Bingo.


I agree with you about getting recommendations... it's sort of weird when a random band emails you because you have no context regarding who they are or their music. I would rather hear about a cool band and seek their music out myself.

And, sadly, one of the best ways to get me to listen to a cd is if the band handing it to me is hot. Works every time.


So right about recommendations. I get requests too, and I'm like "You know I have like 12 regular readers, right?"

On the other hand, I'm in a Gmail mp3 exchange group and I'm more likely to actually listen to a band that gets introduced there since I trust the tastes of people in the group. Even better if the mp3 comes with an anecdote, like "I was driving to the beach and I happened to be listening to this CD".


Brooklyn Vegan posted today about a band that I saw at the Merc last year that is really fucking great (and hot too nora) Rana. I've read about them a bunch at http://the-big-ticket.blogspot.com/ and it's nice to see them getting some NYC love. Going along with the friend of a friend recommending them, there is one band worth checking.


i didn't even mention hotness. but yeah. pass the eyeliner and the cd at the same time. that's all good with me.

Tom Sean

This is Tom, the organizer of Indie Night School. This is so great! I'm so glad that the discussion has carried on past the event itself. I suspected that Jen had a ton of stuff to say, and my suspicions were correct :) I'm so upset I wasn't able to invite the rest of you all in time.

Paolo from the Deli

>one person mentioned that bands should
>invest a lot of money (10K was the number
>thrown out there) into making a "real full
>length cd", with nice artwork and all of
>that. i don't agree, you can hand me a cd
>wrapped in notebook paper and i'll probably
>listen to it over the cd in the plastic
>wrap that came in the mail with the press

(i am that one person). once again: there is a difference between blogs and magazines: bloggers can talk about anything they want, as their format allows a subjective and disorganized stream of consciousness. music magazines, on the other hand, normally have the function of promoting FINISHED musical products, i.e. CDs - magazines don't review demos, they don't interview bands that have demos out. so, if you ask me: "how do i get reviewed in a magazine?" i'll have to answer, again: send a finished CD, something you can sell in shops, or we won't even consider you. we might still listen to the demo and tell you: "man, your stuff sounds great. put a CD out and we'll give you the cover..."

A FULL LENGTH CD IS THE STRONGEST STATEMENT A BAND CAN MAKE. actually - go for a triple album if you can...

of course, making finshed full length CDs is expensive, that's why i quoted 10k...

by the way, most national magazines don't even review EPs (or they just give them a few lines), so, if you want to increase the chances to be reviewed, record a full length album. also the labels will take you more into consideration. it's not a question of how much you spend, it's a question of handing out a product (CD) that shows that you are serious and that looks and sounds as good as it can. that - together with good pr - is how you catch our attention. obviously, if the music is bad, we probably won't review it anyway...


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