I would by now assume that everyone is back from their holiday vacations, so I’ll go right into this. First of all, I’m going to half my efforts as far as the website is concerned. That doesn’t mean that I am going to stop reviewing media, but that I am going to stop reviewing as much of it. So just be aware that I can’t review everything in my inbox (as usual) and it is better to send a physical if you really need it covered here. Of course, there are some other things on my mind that I want to stress.
Writers who put time and effort into covering media for various labels and publishers need to be paid a decent fee for it. I simply cannot stress this enough. I’ve noticed two things since I started reviewing media back in 2010 and that’s the fact that some writers have what it takes to do this kind of work and some definitely would be better off doing something else. I will stress that when I saw some of the smaller blogs that were covering my band’s previous album, A Judgement Divine; that a small portion of the reviews were either quite shoddy or directly copied from the press release in a slapdash manner. Put some love into your opinions, folks – even if it is just a handful of sentences, make the reader feel that they didn’t waste time in checking out your opinion on a product. If you’re not going to do that, then you are simply wasting your time. It really boggles the mind as to why people are doing this kind of work in such a haphazard kind of way. Is it the free music?
Noting that, I also want to ask if some of the larger labels actually give a damn about reviews. Particularly, the publicists. The indies have always given me at least a vote of “thanks” which would assure that they got the message. However, some labels never responded and I just let it be. That being said, I keep getting their emails, so someone in there must have seen something. The sheer fact that Joe Bob’s blog is out there covering albums is also probably why the albums are leaking onto the internet faster than they can arrive in my inbox. I’m almost certain that some people are making money from leaks. I’m also quite certain that Soilwork are none too happy about their latest album being leaked quite a bit earlier than expected; but perhaps this could turn out to be a good thing for them as the reviews for it have been wholly positive and would definitely warrant physical purchases. That being said, a melodic death metal progenitor and all-around titan in the genre like Soilwork aren’t losing money anytime soon. Especially considering all of the things that Bjorn Strid lends his voice to for the extremely low-cost of free. Great guy, I’d say.
Though my major point here is that if a sort of pay system would be introduced to writers, we would more than likely kick into high gear. Though the gesture that I receive from the magazine I write for occasionally is a nice gesture, that is really all that it is. Spending all of that time and effort to cover one or more albums for a dollar each is quite disheartening. In fact, most people would tell me that I was fucking insane, especially when I’m still unloading trucks at the local retail giant rather than covering the mass amount of media that I would had I not needed the lifeline of retail work to survive. It’s a fair suggestion, considering that we critics work just as hard as anyone else in the entertainment industry and such sites as No Clean Singing have really thrown the wrench in that model by hiring great writers for what they consider to be “volunteer work.” In my opinion, great writers need to be paid for their work, same as artists who do commissions. While we do get “free music” and I understand what that entails, we are still commissioned to perform work that other writers would no doubt be paid for.
As often comes with any kind of pay system, requirements would also be much higher. These requirements would “separate the men from the boys” as it were; and there would be far less writers out there with slapdash opinions as well as those who decide to more or less copy the press releases. It’s entirely fair to request a pay system when one consider the amount of time that I used to spend writing these reviews several years ago. I was definitely spending about six to eight hours at a time every night covering records and that’s a bit insane by anyone’s standards. The very reason that I haven’t been doing that lately, is because I no longer have the time. I’ve since had to work a full-time, forty hour a week job in order to keep afloat. As you may expect, by the time I arrive home, I’m quite tired and writing a piece isn’t what comes to mind – relaxation after a hard day of work often is.
That being said, I’ll either be covering albums in lists or by writing five reviews a week. I’m not sure which yet, but lists seem easier and a bit more in line with the one track mind and short attention spans that are caused by overstressed amygdala (thanks social media) and this new digital age. I’m also going to have my partner and love doll Lyzexxia cover some records, comics, movies and perhaps even other things. She has an account and is definitely being exposed to as much media as I am. Yes, you read that right – my doll is going to start covering albums. So get ready for that, folks. We’re really upping the ante this year with that addition, I think – and Central Scrutinizer will still be around to cover materials as well. I recently heard that he was submitted a few records and that’s great. I don’t have the money right now to hire a larger staff, so this works just fine for me.
In addition to media coverage, I will also be offering social commentary as usual. Those posts seem to be doing very well and I’ll keep on posting my thoughts there as well as the YouTube channel that few watch (though admittedly, is growing). That’s all I have to say for today and I thank you all for supporting us just by clicking a review link on our Facebook page or something that you’ve pulled up on Google. We’ve always been dedicated to a 100% No BS opinion here at The Grim Tower and I want to keep it that way. Even if you pay us, we’re not shilling for you. We’re here to give honest critique and that is not up for bargaining.
Thanks again, for your continued patronage.
– The Grim Lord & All Staff