Thursday, September 11, 2014

CriticalJazz.Com Drops Motema / A Sign of The Times

All good things must come to an end...
I am sad to announce that I will no longer handle or promote Motema or their artists. Having requested new releases for several months and with no response, it took a rather sharply worded email to finally get a slap on the wrist response from their publicist.
The response from Motema? Times are hard and only large publications would receive hard copies and little guys such as yours truly should be grateful for a download. ( I am paraphrasing of course). I reminded this charmer that I had a four year history of support and championed this label with a consistent enthusiasm unmatched by some of the larger publications. I was then asked to provide detailed demographic information.
My google plus account which consists of 97% music reviews has over 10 million "looks" and this is posted for anyone to see. I went on to remind this charmer that my site has over 825 thousand direct hits with an audience that is at times 40% global. I am also syndicated in our Gannett paper here and we are the 16th largest city in the United States and a second rate publicist wants me to justify why I deserve a hard copy? Are you serious? While I could easily provide the documentation requested, I stated that my record of support and the statistics you can see should speak for themselves and I don't have to justify my existence to anyone nor do I need them to review an artist should I so desire. I no longer desire.
What does this mean? Independent artists and writers are in the same boat as neither get the respect they deserve. Motema is a fine label but their focus seems to have shifted to a more heavily socio-political vibe from artists including Arturo O'Farrell who made statements encouraging violence after the Trayvon Martin case. I told Arturo that unlike his homeland that we try and settle our issues peacefully and suddenly I am harassed by his wife. I am not picking on Arturo. In conversation with an editor at one of the larger publications that Motema values, I was told of a similar bad experience and they now refuse to review any of his work. One Motema artist was so outraged at my political views that she obtained my direct contact information from a second publicist only to try and finish a political argument. Stalking? Could my politics have played a part in the way in which I was treated? It is a fair question but I'll leave that for you to decide.
Motema can move in any direction they feel is best as the music business is suffering. If hard copy promotional discs are this much of an expense concern then their problems run deeper than what I thought. Conjecture? Sure...Logical? Yes...If they want to embrace the artist that portrays the "angry young black man" approach as their musical baseline that is their right and I am sure they can find an audience. The little guy is being squeezed out in an industry that is set to implode from within. Four dedicated years means nothing. Loyalty in this business is rare if non-existent. I wish Motema the best but sometimes you have to know when you are spinning your wheels. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Too many good artists out there looking for reviews and work.
Not "if" but "when."