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IW10: A Decade of Innocent Words Part 9: The Digital Revolution

Last Updated 9/30/2012 2:15:28 PM


By: Troy Michael

IW10: A Decade of Innocent Words Part 9: The Digital RevolutionFebruary 2012 kicked off the 10th anniversary of Innocent Words Magazine. With that in mind, we have decided to write one retrospective feature each issue documenting our biggest moments, good, bad or otherwise.

I can’t believe I am going to start this blog with this phrase, but here it goes…Back in the day, being a magazine publisher had its perks. But not so much anymore.

When Innocent Words was started it was right on the cusp of the digital revolution. Not so long ago – circa 2002 – the personal interaction between labels, press companies and bands was so much more than it is today. I actually miss sitting back and swapping stories with someone at a press company or record label about music. We were like friends, even though we didn’t know each other outside of the business.

Everything has become so stale and mechanical now. When Innocent Words would get promos when we first started, we’d get actual CDs. I would have stacks upon stacks of CDs on my desk to listen to, and I loved it.  Now that stack of CDs has become just a bump in the road. Digital servicing the way of physical promos are going out the window right along with the personal interaction. When I’d get a big postal tub full of packages, it was like Christmas every day. I’d go through those packages, check out the CD, art work, press sheets and listen to every single CD we would get. On top of that I would email every company that would send a CD to thank them. I felt like it was just the polite thing to do.

Press companies and record labels would even stuff the promo packages with 8x10 glossy press photos (Google it, kids under the age of 25), and we’d get so much free schwag – autographed CDs, signed posters, pens, coffee mugs, and lots of candy. Now it’s nothing, zilch, zero, nada. It’s gotten to the point where a simple thank you for a review is a rarity.

As a music fan, music geek, this is sad to me. As a music business owner, I can see the point. A digital copy saves time, it save money on postage, and it is less work. But at what cost??

One of the funniest parts of the whole digital promo revolution is when a company will send a “special watermarked” digital download so only one person can open it. I know it’s done to stop the music getting out to the public early and so people will actually pay for the music, but come on, this isn’t some highly classified material they are sending, it’s music. Don’t treat me like one of the enemies when I have worked with you for years and we have provided you with countless reviews and/or interviews.

I’ve said it before and it is worth repeating: I am old school, I like the music in my hands. I love looking through the artwork, reading the liner notes, smelling that freshly opened CD smell. I miss the interaction with companies, and I miss the friendship. It felt like when there was more personalization and professionalism, it felt like we were fighting the good fight of everything rock ’n’ roll stood for. The indie media and music industry were standing up to the big bad major labels, but now, with digital promos, it feels like we have become what we were fighting against.

The music industry has become a mouse click away, no interaction needed.

Thanks for reading,
Troy Michael

IW10: A Decade of Innocent Words Part 9: The Digital Revolution

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