CD promotional review aggregator?
June 29, 2009 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find those nifty CD promotional reviews online?

When I volunteered at my local college radio station, the promotional CDs we received would often have small review blurbs stuck to the cases. The reviews would list some of the qualities of the music as well as a RIYD/RIYL list of similar artists. There were several different companies who would do this, but I can’t remember any of their names.

I found these to be very helpful and informative because 1) The artists they covered were mostly unknown or just starting out and 2) Were preferable to a music magazine review because they always focused on the positive aspects of the music. While I enjoy a bit of snobbish musical snarkery every once in a while, in the end it really doesn’t help me in discovering new music (and often leaves me feeling bitter).

Is there a site online where I can read these reviews? Bonus points if they have an RSS feed!
posted by Dr-Baa to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds like you're talking about blurbs written by PR companies hired to promote the CDs. Here is a list of several such companies. You can go to their web sites and view their rosters and read bios, etc.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:08 AM on June 29, 2009

Check out bookmat. I always go there to read the reviews for the same reason.
posted by milarepa at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2009

ludwig_van got all the ones I remember. At my station, we usually laugh at these, or realize some companies are more ... enthusiastic than others. Upon listening, many of the RIYL/RIYD connections were stretches at best. In short: take these with a grain of salt, as the companies are shilling a product to earn their wages.

Anecdote: I was told that McGathy (whose site was blocked by my McAfee antivirus scanner for some reason) laid claim to "RIYL" (recommended if you like), so other companies had to use RIYD (recommended if you dig). Seeing that there's a RIYL Record label, and other companies named RIYL, this may have only been a rumor.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:15 AM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you ludwig_van, that's precisely what I was looking for.

filthy light thief: Oh yeah, I do remember some of the more enthusiastic/off the mark reviews. On the whole, the good recommendations outnumbered the bad. After some time, I picked up a sort of bullshit detector for some of the more breathless reviews, which helped.

Thanks for the RIYL/RIYD anecdote, too. In the back of my mind I always wondered why they started using RIYL seemingly all at once. This was in the late 90's that the shift seemed to take place.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:29 AM on June 29, 2009

As a counter-point to my previous cynical post: even if the stickers make exaggerated claims, you will get some hint of truth behind it all. The CD might not be the next Pet Sounds, but it'll be more Beach Boys than Beastie Boys. Browsing the sites from promoters will give you an idea of up-and-coming music from folks who have proper labels, or are willing to spend a chunk of change to get their music spread around.

Another anecdote: one of the many fun CDs from unknown artists to come through my station was by Bombadil. I asked to be their friend on MySpace, and they wondered how someone from California would hear of them, a band in North Carolina. I told them through the CD that was sent to our college station, and they were surprised. Up to that point, they were skeptical of the impact from getting their music promoted by a 3rd party.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on June 29, 2009

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