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RE: Ted's reviews...

>Actually, there's little to no interest in the research.  Promo CDs act as
>de facto payola for writers/DJs/hipsters who don't get much in the way of
>salary, but can count on a few hundred each month tax-free, courtesy of 
>local used CD store.  In the same way that one of the attractive qualities
>of money is that it's universally accepted and transferable, so do promo 
>act as a non-monetary form of exchange within the music world.  Each CD
>might as well be a $5 bill, with no income tax attached.
>** right and in the end the artists who sell any discs at all will 
>have that sort of thing count as recoupable costs against what they 
>should've made.

Yeah, ain't the music industry grand! I used to work at the local 
college radio station, as a jazz director, and also worked at a used 
record store, so I've seen this phenomenon from a few different 
angles. At the station, we'd get flooded by promos. We played 
strictly mainstream and avant garde jazz during the jazz programming, 
but the major labels would still Fedex us the new Kenny G. and Dave 
Koz discs overnight. We'd be continually pestered by radio reps for 
the crappiest labels, the really great indie labels could never 
afford to hire people to do radio promo.

Unfortunately, the payola part of this doesn't work so well any more. 
Most record stores, at least around here, have gotten saturated by 
crap and aren't buying anything unknown anymore, especially from 
major labels.

The book "Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the 
Mob" is a really interesting read about this stuff, if you really 
want to see how sleazy it can be. I only wish I'd gotten in to radio 
in the '70's and early '80's when they were shipping packages of Coke 
in record sleeves to stations. Oh well :-)

Another anecdote, while doing a web search on the Minus CD, I found 
it listed for sale used at a London store. I sent 3 promo copies to 
all of England, I wonder which it was. The funny thing  was that the 
store listed it as "Rare Northwestern Prog/Psychedelia". Hey, I guess 
it was cool enough for them at least...
Dave Trenkel                                New and Improv Music
http://www.newandimprov.com         improv@peak.org
                 Now Available: Minus: Dark Lit
"This is music all-consuming in its beauty and power"
                                -Jake TenPas OSU Daily Barometer