Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dear Music Promotion Site Folks



Your emails really make my day!

I'm using exclamation points to emphasize that this really isn't true!

That's because the "opportunities" you provide really are kinda irrelevant and useless!

No offense!

Music Xray uses "computer-driven music analysis technology" to locate possible matches for our songs. Doesn't that sound technical and precise?

Well, alas, it's not. Not at all. I have no quibble with computers. I use them approximately 18 hours a day (okay, maybe 16 hours, because I do sleep more than six hours, ideally).

But computers are far from taking over the world. Computers are only as smart (or as stupid) as the operators. Okay, maybe a bit smarter, but that's not really saying a lot, is it?

Don't get me wrong. Music Xray is one of the better sites I've found over the years. What it does right is, it advertises opportunities and allows the artist to submit or not submit to them, albeit for a fee (but they do have to make a living, now, don't they?) And there is no middle man (other than your PayPal account). The person who has listed the opportunity is going to listen to your crummy song. That's more than 99.9% of the other sites provide. So, I like that.

And you do get a response. Not detailed, mind you, but these folks are busy! I've generally gotten, "not my cup of tea", which is short and to-the-point. But at least they haven't replied with, "What the hell?? Why are you wasting my time??", although I'm sure that's what they're thinking.

So, I don't quibble with the opportunities. But the "computer-driven music analysis technology"?

"Ghost Town", which is sort of an Old West kinda movie theme song (you can listen for yourself, if you click on the Red River Store, over there in the sidebar; or just click on the title; duh. Apparently, I'm not as smart as a computer), was matched to the following:

1. New age, ethnic, world, free jazz
2. Instrumental music (the song does have vocals!)

"Goodbye", which is a cool, sort of symphonic pop song, seems to match:

"Songs about Route 66. Songs....include references to; the open road, driving, freedom, working hard, life experiences and so on."

It has none of these things. It would not be that banal.

"Prayed For It To Rain" is, in essence, a classic country song, written in a classic country style. I'm singing it, which is relevant, given the computer's "matches":

1. "rap/hip-hop and r&b/soul/funk genres"
2. "Electronic Music with Female Vocals or No Vocals"

(Well, it does have vocals, like them or not, but electronic? Nah, I'm going to have to say no.)

3. "New Age, Ethnic, World, Free Jazz" (This again?)
4. "Instrumental Music, Piano, Guitar, Drums or other instruments"

Again, this song does have vocals. You can't deny it. As much as you might wish that it didn't, it does.

is either a downer or an upper, depending upon your perspective. It's a song I wrote about my dad's battle with alcoholism, which seems like a downer, but there is hope embedded within the song.

Therefore, this:

"Searching for good artists and writers to help them getting deals in Videogames Projects"

...hardly seems appropriate. Know what I mean?

is an island song about a woman who died before her time, and the legacy she left. It's a soft, soothing song, with an emphasis on acoustic guitar.

So, probably not:

"Gothic, ebm, doom metal, industrial or alternative music"

And what the hell is "ebm"?

It's also not "country, alternative country, bluegrass, or western". And, in fact, the songwriter would actually be insulted to know that it somehow got classified as such.

Now, "Ghost Town" or "Prayed For It To Rain", sure! But apparently, those songs didn't seem to fit in that category.

It also is not appropriate for VIDEO GAMES, unless the games are somnambulistic, and, if so, why would anyone want to play them?


I could go on and on, but it just starts to become redundant.

So, truth be told, I don't even read those emails anymore. I only opened the latest one because I was sort of annoyed about the frequency of the exact same "opportunity matches" that I get every frickin' week!

Don't you, Music Xray, think that if I felt any of our songs actually matched any of these "opportunities", that I would have submitted them by now? Give it up. Or at least ask your computer to come up with new ones.

I guess I probably shouldn't quibble about a free service doing us a "favor" by emailing us with chances to further our music, but I get SO many useless emails, and it's just daunting some days.

My mindset is, "Well, I guess I'd better check my email today. Yes, I'm tired after a long day's work, but you never know; there might be something important".

"Oh, first let me weed out the obvious spam; get rid of those. Then I'll mark some other things as spam, in the hope that I may never hear from these companies again (fat chance!). Then I'll unsubscribe to some places that I never knew I subscribed to in the first place. And I know they'll try to make me feel bad about it: 'Are you sure you want to unsubscribe??'

"Then maybe, just maybe, there'll actually be an email or two from people I actually know. Keeping my fingers crossed! Because, otherwise, why am I wasting my precious off-hours clicking through stupid emails?"

That's my mindset. Yours?

I'm finding more and more that email is pernicious. It's like those unwelcome phone calls one gets when they're just trying to settle in and watch a sitcom, after a crappy day at work. Just relax for an hour or two. But no. They call you, and you have to run to the phone, just in case. And they're diabolical. They never leave a message. And even if you get to the phone before the answering machine kicks in, nobody is ever on the other end of the line! They just leave you to wonder, what the hell are you calling me for?

Did you ever try calling the number back, to ask them to leave you alone? Nobody answers! Or you get into the endless circle of "Press __ for ___", and you press it, and it gives you a bunch of other numerals to choose from to press. Until finally, you just give up. And then you go back to your TV screen and try to relax and unwind. All the while, thinking of possible ways to wreak revenge upon them. But there never really is a way.

And with emails, you don't even know that you've been added to somebody's email list. Nor did you ask to be put there.

I submitted a song once to a new artist who as "seeking songs". I love that; they always use that phrase: seeking songs.

Well, she did respond to my email, with a sort of cryptic, "Hey, I really like it. Let's talk". But when I tried to talk, she never did talk back.

No prob. It was a lark, really. I wasn't expecting anything.

But, lo and behold, I'm now on her email list! I'm being informed of her latest appearances and new tracks. Not to be cruel, but I really don't care! If she'd recorded one of my songs, then sure! I would care! But otherwise, no, I just don't care. Take me off the list.

So, they just grab you. Without your permission.

I think, frankly, that for every unknown entity that decides to put me on their email distribution list, I should reciprocate.

I should start sending out a daily email message to all of my valuable contacts.

I could tell them all about my day. Sure, it would be boring, but no more boring than the stuff I get from them!

Let's see how they like it.

Oh, but, then I'd be constantly sending that plaintive message, "Are you sure you want to unsubscribe??"

Okay, since this is a video blog, I wanted to include something relevant, so my first thought was, "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number", but alas, foiled again!

There is no decent video of this to be found.

But, in searching for Steely Dan, I did find this. And it's pretty fun, especially since it is introduced by a relatively young Bill Cosby. And it's from the Midnight Special, in 1973. Ahhh, 1973 was a very good year!

So, although this has absolutely nothing to do with my post, I couldn't resist including, "Reelin' In The Years":

Okay, thanks tons, anonymous YouTube user. Thanks for deleting this video. Why in the world did you bother to post it in the first place? Idiot.

In lieu of Steely Dan, we're going with (on the spur of the moment) the Beach Boys instead.

Let's try this one, for as long as it remains on line:

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