in_frequency (in_frequency) wrote in infrequency_old,
in_frequency
in_frequency
infrequency_old

2002-02-26 - 4:57 pm

>From: "R. Toby Greenwalt"

>To: rgreenwa@knox.edu

>Subject: Meet the editor of CMJ!

>Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 17:28:39 -0600

>

>Okay, I have to admit that the subject line is a little misleading, atleast in the literal sense.

>

>by the by, if CMJ means nothing to you and you got this message by accident, you're welcome to do whatever you want with the message. You're also free to disagree with me, engage in dialogue, what have you. I just felt this information had to be put out there. If I'm wasting space in your home email account, I apologize. A couple of mouse clicks should rectify the situation.

>

>Enough prologue. Here's my story. As many of you may have noticed, CMJ has started up a new section devoted specifically to retail sales. It's been going on since about the start of the year.

>

>At any rate, I've begun to question the relevance of this section, given CMJ's supposed 'core' audience. As a highly unofficial experiment, and using the 25 February issue of CMJ, I cross-referenced the albums on the retail charts with those on the radio airplay charts. On the top 200 radio chart, I found a correlation of about 12.5 per cent (i.e., approximately 25 records that appear on both charts). The sales charts (both of which are top 20s), show an equally small correllation - 3 albums match on the major chain charts, and one whopping album on the 'one stop' report.

>

>Something doesn't seem to match up here, and that concerns me. So, half as a joke, half to draw this discrepancy to CMJ's attention, I sent a letter to Mike Boyle, the magazine's editor-in-chief:

>

>CMJ New Music Report

>151 W. 25th St.

>12th Floor

>New York, NY 10001

>ATTN: Mike Boyle, Editor-in-Chief

>

> Dear Mr. Boyle:

>

>I thought it might be important to bring to your attention a typo in Issue 750. It seems that the printers mistakenly took pages 29 to 36 from this week’s issue of Billboard and placed them in pages 29 to 36 of your magazine. I have enclosed said pages for your reference, as this may be something you need to take up with your printers. I know it’s expensive to publish a full-color magazine, and there’s no reason you should have to pay your printers full price for this issue.

>

>It is my sincere hope that you can eliminate this problem printer before such an error takes place again.

>

>Respectfully,

>

>Toby Greenwalt

>General Manager, 90.7 WVKC-FM

>Galesburg, IL

>

>Now, I admit that I could have directly addressed my concern, but damnit, I'm clever, and if the opportunity presents itself, I'm going to take it.

>

>At any rate, I recieved this email in response this afternoon:

>

>Subject: What's your point?

>Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 15:35:15 -0500

>From: Mike Boyle

>To: rgreenwa@knox.edu

>

>Toby,

>

>In reference to your letter to me on February 19 regarding our "printer problem," I come from a world where beating around the bush is just so lame.....

>

>When you grow up, Toby, and have time to understand what a real "music industry trade magazine" is supposed to be, you'll hopefully learn how important it is to have a retail section in a magazine like CMJ, which is supposed to be a learning tool as well as a factual look at that side of the business.

>

>And, Toby, when you finally do grow up and leave the fantasy world of college radio and try to make a living in the real music industry (if that's what you want to do), it will be important for you to understand how the animal works if you want to survive in it. So instead of wasting your time trying to be snide, do yourself a favor and learn a little about the "industry." It will serve you well, I promise.

>

>Respectfully back at ya,

>

>Mike Boyle

>Editor-In-Chief, CMJ New Music Report

>151 W. 25th Street - 12th Floor

>New York, NY 10001

>URL: www.cmj.com

>

>

>

>I don't know how you feel about this, but I don't think this isn't the type of treatment I deserve. Especially not from a publication I've worked for four years to support. I've worked my up through WVKC in my time at this school, and no matter how small a market we may be, I'd like to think I've had some impact on listeners, whether it be through booking acts to play, reporting charts, choosing playlists, or even just playing a song by a particular artist. I'd like to think I've learned something about the music business in the process.

>

>However, as one who has yet to grow up and escape from my fantasy world, I haven't yet realized that the College Music Journal is just another venue that the 'industry' can use to gawk at one another's sales. The radio stations that actually make up the CMJ network have little to do with it, whether it's in how their main source of information decides to talk (or talk down, in this case) to them, or if it's in the way a very small number of the records/bands they air and believe in actually translate to retail sales.

>

>(For the record, I'm just going to leave the term at 'retail sales.' I could go into how much money is going to the artist, or the label, or whatever, but that's a whole other windmill to chase after. Just ask Steve Albini, if you really need to know.)

>

>In the 18 February issue of CMJ, Mike Boyle writes "call it what you will, but in reality, the CMJ New Music Report is a "trade" magazine for the music industry."

>

>Based on my observations of a) how rarely a high chart position on the CMJ airplay charts translates to the moving of units, and b) how CMJ seems to view itsit seems to me that if CMJ is going to function as a "trade" magazine for the industry, the next logical step for them would be to eradicate the college section altogether, because of its apparent irrelavance to the "industry." As far as sales are concerned, a magazine showcasing airplay on college radio has as much relavance to the business as a separate section on plumbing supplies. For all the "industry's" concerened, perhaps college radio should be shifted into the "Niche" charts, as has been done for CMJ's New World, Jazz, Ñ Alternative, and RPM sections.

>

>Obviously, I don't want this to happen. Hopefully you feel the same way. Even if you don't, I'd like this message to inspire some level of discourse at the various places you work at, if for no other reason than to call into question the purpose we serve as GM's, MD's, indie musicians, or promoters. Hopefully you'll pass some of your own observations along to me. I'm ready and willing to go over anything in this letter with anyone, be it confusing or contentious.

>

>Finally (and bless you, if you've made it all the way to the end), if this does bother you to any degree, by all means, voice your concerns to CMJ. I removed Mr. Boyle's email address from the email just for safety's sake, but you can send a letter snailmail (151 W. 25th St, 12th floor, New York, NY, 10001), or get his email address from the top of the "The Week" section of any recent issue of CMJ.

>

>Please feel free to pass this along to anyone whom you think might be interested in this.

>

>I look forward to hearing back from all of you.

>

>R. Toby Greenwalt

>General Manager, 90.7 WVKC-FM "Radio Free Galesburg"

>Galesburg, IL 61401-4999

>www.wvkc.org

>rgreenwa@knox.edu
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