Today I was considering JAGing but pretty much instantly decided against it… I was thinking about how I have an album that’s just been released in the UK, but I have no UK press representation (very expensive) or someone doing the JAGing for me. Most reasonable sized labels have people that go online and big up their artists under false pretences on blogs or websites. They have advertising budgets so websites and magazines are kind of obliged to review their albums, and they have press people who harass journalists until they review stuff.
I know it’s probably such an obvious thing to ponder, but I was mulling over how much these things influence the music that I listen to, and to a certain extent, my musical taste and everyone else’s. I don’t really put too much weight on what reviews say, but if I see coverage of something everywhere it makes me want to go and at least see what it’s like.
Also, I’m kind of interested in how a band like Battles (just one example) can release music over a fair period of time and be virtually unknown, then sign with Warp and really quickly become so heavily featured (I’m talking about their first album really). Perhaps press/ ad coverage is a stamp of approval for some people? If I’m honest about it – it works on me quite often. And I would say that the Warp thumbs up would probably make me even more interested.
The music that I release isn’t very well known at all, but I have about four LPs out this year (granted - some of them will have a PR company behind them). This album has had some really great reviews and features here and there but has been largely ignored by the music press – perhaps it’s terrible… It probably is. But all the magazines/ papers on my mailing list instantly wanted to know who was doing press and what other places were covering it, as if this would legitimise them writing about it in some way. I found it a bit depressing – especially as most of them came back with an “it’s great response” and then never reviewed it. Maybe if I’d had a press company working it then it would be no different. Who knows?
I know JAGing is mostly done on here by unsigned bands, but I know for a fact there’s a fair bit of it done covertly also for more established acts. I’m always a bit shocked at that, but I wondered if there was this whole façade – JAGing, press, ads etc that actually did have a hold on my musical taste (as much as I don’t like to admit it), and that basically my brain is being bought off. Maybe I’m subconsciously finding excuses for no press on my record!
I read about some new law that’ll stop things like JAGing happening on Amazon, where authors sign in and write reviews of their own books. I’m sure publishers do this, but less well-known authors doing it will be the ones caught out I suppose.
I just wondered if anyone has had similar thoughts.
This turned into an essay by mistake.