Tuesday, September 04, 2007

lay lady lay your money on me

In his breakdown of the 2007 Downbeat Critics' Poll, Tom Hull makes an aside:

I'm picking up cost-cutting vibes from ECM; tsk, tsk
I guess that he's referring to ECM'snew electronic delivery system that allows reviewers to download MP3s and burn CDs of new releases:
Far too frequently, we sent out CDs to a large number of writers for titles which then received only 2 or 3 reviews. Many of you have written articles about the enormous decline in CD sales so it doesn't need much explaining - we simply cannot continue to send out promo CDs in such large quantities.
CD's will still be available when necessary for reviewing - but please try using [our new electronic servicing system] so you can limit your CD requests to titles you actually plan to review.
- from an e-mail ECM sent 'round
I gather from his "tsk, tsk" that Hull does not approve. I've never been a massive recipient of review copies (though I've gotten a fair amount of them), so maybe my opinion doesn't count for much, but I think that this is a logical move. A few other labels already use similar, though simpler, systems.

ECM's software is relatively simple and not restrictive. I guess this could backfire if the jazz reviewing community turns out to be a hide-bound bunch that refuses to have any of its priveleges semi-taken away in these lean times. Actually, this could make an even bigger difference for smaller labels for which the cost and time if takes to mail stuff out are perhaps bigger shares of the overall budget.

IODA Promonet (which I used for the MP3s in the post on Nels Cline's New Monastery) has a system targeted at blogs and podcasts. A similar virtual bazaar for review copies could be interesting.