New BitW Series: Reviews & Tiny Reviews- NYOP Editions


I’m going to begin putting the spotlight on some artists who have their albums set to NYOP (Name Your Own Price), which is exactly as it implies… you can purchase the album at any price you desire, including free.  Pay whatever you like.  And even if you choose Free, if down the road you decide that the album was more enjoyable than you first assumed, there is an option to go back and pay after the fact, again, at any price you choose.

It’s an interesting model, especially for artists who are unknown and just starting out, but also for artists who own the copyright to their music and want to rekindle interest in their older albums.

Most of the albums will be on the artists’ Bandcamp pages.  If you’re unfamiliar with Bandcamp, it’s a music retail site like Amazon or iTunes.  However, on Bandcamp, artists have control over their own “page” and, reportedly, Bandcamp takes less of a middleman cut than Amazon and iTunes, thus the artist makes more money from each sale.  Also, the Bandcamp site offers a variety of downloadable file formats; so you can download in the normal MP3 format like you would anywhere else, but you can also download in lossless formats, which means larger file sizes but better sound quality.  The price is the same no matter which file type you choose.  And if you prefer CDs or Vinyl, many artists sell those mediums on their Bandcamp page, too.  There will be occasions when the album will, instead, be streamable on the artist Soundcloud or Artist Site, but most will likely be a Bandcamp thing.

Anyways, I’m gonna do an occasional series of these NYOP Editions of Reviews & Tiny Reviews.  Some I’ll post here, and some I’ll post over on the Music Is Good site.  Worth noting that MiG also has posts of a similar nature for non-jazz albums.

Some reviews will be more comprehensive than others.  There will be times that I give the album one listen and perform a brief write-up from that.  The goal of this series is to get the spotlight on interesting music, rather than an analysis of what’s there.

If you are an artist and have an NYOP album that you want me to give a listen to, go ahead and drop a request in this post’s Comments section.  That’s where I’ll respond yes or no.

Requirements to participate:

1.  The album has to be set to Name Your Own Price (or Free, but with an option for fans to donate/pay as thanks for the music).

2.  I must be able to stream the entire album online.  It doesn’t have to be on a Bandcamp page; Soundcloud and Artist Sites are good.  I only mentioned Bandcamp initially because that’s where I initially became familiar with the NYOP model.  I don’t want to download the album, nor do I want physical copies sent to me.  My computer is stuffed to the gills with music files, and I want you to be able to sell the physical albums at shows or to people who want to buy it that way online.

3.  One request per artist.  If I run out of material, I’ll send out some notices on Twitter saying that I’m open for multiple submissions.  If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you really should.  Not only do I disseminate important information, but I’m also fucking hilarious (or so I’ve told myself on numerous occasions).  My Twitter handle is @BirdIsTheWorm.

4.  Please be genuinely committed to the NYOP strategy.  It doesn’t have to be for all of an artist’s albums.  For instance, I’ll be doing a Tiny Review of an album for an artist who has one class of recordings as NYOP, but his “major” recordings at a normal retail price.  I’m totally cool with that.  I’m just asking that an artist not temporarily put their album at NYOP in order to get some print here, then switch it back to normal retail model after I publish the review.  The NYOP model might not work for everyone, and it might not be an enduring good idea, but I want to add a little momentum to artists who are experimenting with new music retail strategies, because god knows, the music industry needs some.

I think that’s all I’ve got.  We’ll see how this goes.  I think this upcoming week will be dominated by the NYOP series, then I’ll start spreading them out a bit.

I’ll be posting the first article in the NYOP series momentarily, a review of Jason Parker Quartet‘s Five Leaves Left:  A Tribute to Nick Drake.

In other BitW news, I’ve got two nice batches of Tiny Reviews just about ready to publish.  It’ll either happen this week or next, depending on how the NYOP series goes.  Also, I’ve got some reviews to pub for the ESP label by Frank Lowe, Marzette Watts, and Frank Wright; a couple are re-issues and one was never issued before.  All three are very much in the free jazz school, recorded between ’66 & ’74.  I don’t typically do older recordings, especially reissues, but I have a soft spot in my heart for ESP and have really been in the mood for some free jazz, so I made an exception.

Cheers, and thanks for visiting the site.

-Dave Sumner