Over at No Clean Singing there has been some uproar over the fact that Facebook has instituted a new policy trying to force people to pay them in order to promote their posts. There has been a pretty major freakout and I think that’s reasonable. The primary point has been “oh, but the underground bands!” Well, fuck that. What about me? My fucking website has no ads on purpose. We do not get paid for our work and we attempt to earn no money. So why should we have to pay for our fans on Facebook to have an equal chance of seeing our posts? Still, we at Angry Metal Guy seem to be doing a better job of reaching our fans on Facebook than others given the information I’ve read about it. We’re getting upwards of 30% often and recently as far as upwards of 40% with virality. But why make this harder for us? It’s hard enough doing what we do sometimes.
And while I’m bitching, I need to just say this publicly to all the labels out there: hey labels, I am not leaking your promos. I am willing to allow you to watch my every move on the Internet. I have not, will not and have no desire to share your music illegally. But here’s the thing, when my Nuclear Blast promoter refuses (for no good reason) to give me promos in time that makes it really hard for me to do my job. I know they give other blogs stuff months ahead of time. But apparently we at Angry Metal Guy have been put into the “embargoed” list, which means that my promo guy sometimes just fucking ignores me outright. And sometimes I get shit 2 days ahead of time. And sometimes I will get something—but usually after I’ve written 14 e-mails and bitched. When Century Media decides that they’re going to stick their collective heads up their asses and ban me from receiving promos further than 1 week ahead of time? I get pissed. And the response I get? Well, it’s pretty much: “deal with it.” I actually do promo work directly for Napalm Records bands and they still have me in their embargoed pool in Europe.
As reviewers we work for the industry and we do it for free (or technically for promos, but since many labels actually now only send streamable promo, they’re trying to take that away, too). Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. There are no independent music journalists. And because we are expendable, the industry could give a shit less. Do they treat trusted blogs differently than just any old blog? Apparently that’s too much work, so instead we all get banned from getting records ahead of time. No one can get any material at all until it’s too late and then boom someone fucking leaks it. Who isn’t in this embargoed group. Like the new Nile. Or the new Kreator. Or the new Sabaton. And so on.
And that’s the infuriating irony: despite embargoing bloggers, shit leaks anyway. At this point, I have a habit of writing to my promo guy when I find out that something leaked (he still ignores me, mind you, ’cause he apparently just doesn’t give a shit). But it is fucking bullshit that bloggers get embargoed when it is obviously not bloggers who are leaking the material en masse. Sure, it maybe has happened that bloggers leak, but why would I risk my fucking neck to give people free shit? Why? I work for the industry! Do you fucking people not understand that we work for the fucking industry? I do interviews to promote new records. I do reviews to promote new records. I post information on tours to promote bands and their tours. I am a network point connected to nodes that are labels. My job is facilitated by the labels. Plain and simple.
What kills me is that the plan isn’t working. All the smart people in the industry seem to have made up their mind that embargoing records against bloggers is the best way to do it: and then the new Nile record leaked before I got promo. Just like everything else leaks. Just like it happens every time. Maybe it is time to reconsider the fucking plan. Treating bloggers like criminals is a good way to discourage people who write quality reviews to want to stop doing that. My job should be writing about music and promoting good records. Instead my job is trying to wrangle promo copies of records so that I can produce a review in good time. For you assholes, not for me. I just like to review music as a hobby and right now I am fucking sick of that hobby.
I would get the material sooner if I was a pirate. And that is fucking pathetic.
[Edit:] It has come up among the comments that actually AMG is one of the most read blogs in its genre—according to Islander from No Clean Singing—which means that it’s doubly ironic that we’re getting treated like this. Some have theories that it’s because we don’t just give the thumbs up to every record that comes through for us. I know that it’s at least partially true that some labels in the past (Scarlett Records, Twilight Vertrieb, Prosthetic Records) have stopped sending promos after we have panned a record, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case. I’d like to hope, however, that it’s not. I’d hope that the labels understand that with bad reviews comes trust: these guys here at AMG aren’t just rubber stamping every piece of shit that passes through our mailbox. We love what is good, we hate what is bad, and you can trust our reviews. That is the kind of promotion you cannot buy. It is the kind of promotion that you get by being genuine—a thing metal fans seem to really care about.