About Me & Review Requests
[Updated: June 26, 2016]
I’m obsessively focused on jazz in the present tense. Every week, I scour the jazz new releases listings for anything that sounds interesting. I’m all over the self-produced and small-label releases. There is nothing that’s too obscure for me.
In addition to the material on this site, I write monthly columns for music retailer Bandcamp and their Bandcamp Daily blog. This includes a best of the month recommendations column and an artist profile (w/interview), plus any other assignment I’m able to scoop up/falls in my lap. Previously, I wrote a weekly recommendations column for eMusic’s 17 Dots blog and then, later, their editorial spinoff Wondering Sound. I’m the former AllAboutJazz Download of the Day editor, and I also write sporadically for Music is Good. I also occasionally do a guest spot on Kevin Coultas’s Mingle show on ARTxFM, a Louisville-based radio station, and feature music I’m writing about on this site.
I also write fiction novels, though that’s not the reason you’re viewing this page right now, is it?
I’m not a reviewer or a critic. I’m a recommendation engine. I find the best of the best and I get the spotlight on it. I write about the music as well as I can, but my value to the scene is in the search, not the scribing (see? awkward word usage). I’m not gonna be trashing albums or musicians on here. There’s too much great music out there to be wasting time talking about music I don’t like. But like anyone with an opinion, I can be abrasive, so don’t expect a series of fanboy posts, either. I am a jazz advocate. I love this music.
My inbox is always open to jazz musicians and labels. If you want me to write about your album, consider yourself invited. If you send me a promo CD, the only promise I make is that I’ll give it a solid listen; anything after that is at the mercy of my personal taste in music and the whims of my schedule. I should warn you, I’m pretty much flooded with emails and promo cds on a daily basis, so in many instances, I never respond to email queries. I’ll read the review request and listen to the music, but if it’s not something I plan to write about, I just move on to the next album. I know this seems rude, but time is so scarce for listening to music that I have to cut out many things I’d otherwise like to do… email responses is, unfortunately, one of the things that had to go.
Before contacting me about writing an album review, you should read this:
Something very important to note: There’s almost no chance I’ll write about a recording if I can’t embed an album track with the recommendation. So, regardless of whether you’re a musician, an artist rep or a label, have an album track uploaded to Soundcloud or Bandcamp or Vimeo before even contacting me. If you want to do a Private Soundcloud upload and email me the code, that’s totally fine. But I am quite firm in my requirement of an embeddable track. The first thing I do when I receive a CD or MP3 promo is look for embeddable audio. If there is none, your album goes into a “maybe later” pile and I rarely get to those.
Because the thing of it is, no matter how strong my reputation becomes and no matter how well I might write about your album, nothing will get the listener to follow the retail link to buy your album than hearing the music itself. If you have any questions about this, don’t be afraid to ask. I’m happy to go through your various options in more detail and talk you through them. I like to be helpful, and any wisdom I’ve picked up since beginning this site is information I’m glad to pass along. The phrases “help, I don’t understand” and “I don’t know” are perfectly acceptable when sending me an inquiry. Now, about those inquiries…
In summary, your request for review should be comprised of the following items:
- A subject line of: Review request- [Artist Name] – [Album Name]
- A link to a Soundcloud/Bandcamp/Artist Site/etc page that I can stream the album in full.
- A link to where I can immediately download the album (if necessary) in MP3 format.
- The release date
- A link to where I can pull embed code for an album track
- A one-sheet or an equivalent that tells me a little about yourself and any other links that you think would be helpful (label, album personnel, retail, videos, etc). But this is optional; don’t sweat it.
If I need a copy of the CD, I’ll request it. I know those things are valuable to you, and I’m not gonna ask you to send one unless I think there’s a chance that I’ll need it to write something up.
If you’re a label or PR rep, and you would just prefer to mail me CDs, then just say so and I’ll send you my mailing address. My contact email is at the bottom of the page.
Important: Do not set an expiration date on the downloadable files for your digital promo. It may be months before I’m able to get around to downloading your album from Dropbox, etc… I’m dealing with a huge volume of requests and little time to tend to all of them. There have been plenty of times I’ve finally gotten to an email in the queue, attempted to download the album and received an error notice about an expiration date and the MP3 files are unavailable. When this happens, I just move on to the next email in the queue.
If you are selling (or are going to sell) your album on Bandcamp, please note that on your correspondence. Naturally, the columns I write for Bandcamp are going to be about music that is on their site.
I wrote a column way back when about how to pitch an album review. It’s still pretty applicable today, and not a bad resource if you’re looking for some insight into how to approach the new landscape of bloggers. You can find it here (LINK).
Other things I’m looking for:
- If you are offering a free track, shoot me an email. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new or older album. If it’s something I can embed, I’ll put it on my site’s front page. Even if I can’t embed it, send me a link to wherever it can get downloaded from. I’ll be doing something with those soon, and it will hopefully send some traffic to your site.
- Advance promo track of upcoming albums. If it’s something I like, I’ll embed it on the front page of the site. Admittedly, I’ve been very bad about this so far, but that was more a function of the new site theme. Those bugs seem to have been fixed, so apologies for those I wasn’t able to feature, but that will be starting back up.
- If you retail on Bandcamp, and there’s something oddball or unique about what you’re offering or how you’re presenting things or, I dunno, there’s something different going on, let me know about it.
- If you are planning on making a tour stop in Kentucky, shoot me a heads-up email.
I am available to write liner notes, artist bios, and other featured content.
I occasionally hang out at the eMusers forum (www.emusers.org) and shoot the breeze about music. It’s a small forum full of members with great ears and varied tastes in music. Like a forum of Ted Gioias.
Thanks for visiting Bird is the Worm.