Thursday, 10 July 2008

Original Content Vs "Corporate Content" - Getting it into perspective

Some CDs, yesterday
Record companies, publishers, artist agencies, etc, please take note.

Regular readers will have observed that occasionally I review CDs, DVDs, books, etc. Yes, these are freebies that I am asked if I would like to review by record labels, publishers and agents. I will also run the occasional news item that has been passed on to me from one of these agencies, such as news stories about charity auctions.

However, I'm reluctant to become the mouthpiece of all these third parties and corporations, so such items will not be allowed to dominate. I don't want to have the same content as all the other guitar blogs, many of which are reviewing the same products. If I feature too much "corporate content" it will dilute the blog's originality and make it feel like I'm "selling out".

Reviews, for instance, will have to fit in with the general theme of the blog, i.e. guitars. I didn't take up a recent offer to review the latest Sergio Mendes CD, however brilliant it may be, because the guy's a piano player after all, and the link to our theme is getting tenuous.

If anyone thinks that I review CDs solely to expand my own CD collection, let me tell you that I actually decline most offers of review CDs. Some of the more interesting sounding ones I will accept (so long as there is a valid guitar connection). The other factor, of course, is one of time. It actually takes quite a good while to write these reviews. The CD (or DVD or whatever) needs a good long audition, then I have to compose the piece which can takes days. I think I played the Neil Diamond "Home Before Dark" CD through at least six times before I wrote a word. So, I'm not going to do too many of these reviews as I simply do not have the time, and I do have a day job! If anyone wants a CD reviewed in a hurry, forget it.

On the topic of news items, I have to stress that it is my own policy NEVER to feature either air guitar or the Guitar Hero computer game on the blog. This is my decision based purely on my own intense distaste for both. (So to the person emailing me to feature a news story about some air guitar contest, thanks, but no thanks).

I notice that most of these agencies seem to be operating out of the USA. Are similar agencies in the UK all asleep, or are they not yet aware of the phenomenon that is The Blog? (When I say "The Blog" I'm talking about blogging in general, not just this blog.)

Where, for instance, were my freebie tickets for the recent London Music Show? The organisers were missing a trick there by not getting blogs involved. My review last month generated an amazing amount of interest and there were links coming into the item from all over.

Blimey, I mean I get invited to go over to the States to attend the NAMM shows (although, rather worryingly, they say they require proof that I am "press", such as a letter from my editor. How would that work? I am my own editor. Should I write my own letter from my editor? I reckon the NAMM administration need to consider us bloggers more carefully. C'mon, get with the times!).

Invites to go see whichever latest band in New York or Los Angeles are likely to go ignored. Sorry about that, but it's a little too far to travel. Come on you agency guys, is it that difficult to make one or two geographical connections when sending out these invitations? Neither am I likely to want to perform a transatlantic telephone interview with some up and coming artist I've never heard of. They may be great, but I don't have that kind of operation going on here.

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