Friday, January 19, 2007

Magazine Coverage Shill Immortalized In Email Exchange

Amplifier Magazine should really kick Joe Joyce for an email exchange that makes it clear that, for a label to get its material covered, they gotta pay (by buying advertising space). Just ask Matthew Johnson of The Birdman Group.

Joyce emailed Johnson, hyping Birdman's material, and indicated that Amplifier would love to provide further coverage of Birdman, if only they'll pay for some advertisements.

Here's the exchange, courtesy of Idolator:

Joe writes:

"Hello Matthew,

Never heard back fro you on my last email....Anyway, A new year and a new philosophy for AMPLIFIER MAGAZINE. We're now in our 10th year of print publication, not to mention having added a fantastic new website to our enterprise just a short while ago. In that time I believe it's well within reason to estimate we've provided coverage to thousands of excellent bands through CD reviews, articles, features, live reviews, and on-line AMP3 Radio play lists.I believe without reservation that AMPLIFIER has become a highly influential force within the indie rock genre. We would like nothing better than to continue being that source of expertise and influence to our readers in both the print forum and through the internet.

Quick Birdman the type of label that sees AMPLIFIER as an advertising resource for its artists. There's a thousand and one minor reasons to make this seem unlike a simple yes or no answer. But really, truth be told, it boils down to one or the other. In the first ten years of publication I've wasted an obscene amount of time that was not really necessary, chasing myself in circles. I don't want to do that anymore. We like what you're putting out ( see Paula Frazer) and plan on providing coverage....but to save us time and effort on the advertising end of things, do you see Birdman making use of any advertising opportunities presented by either AMPLIFIER or

A cut and dried answer will me most greatly appreciated."


"Hey Joe. Thanks for the note. What I can tell you is this. In the 3+ years I've been here, my advertising budgets have gone from just about anything, to absolutely nothing. I really want to say that I believe things will turn around, but the honest truth is that we are cutting back more than ever. I have not taken an add in a publication in over 6 months. Revolver does some of that for me at times on their own, but I have no funds to do this. I really wish it were different. But...Please keep me posted on all of your doings though, I like getting those emails.

I truly appreciate your support and coverage for Birdman. You guys are great over there.

See ya,



"Bummer.....wish we could continue to support your artists, but I guess we can't. Best of luck.

Joe Joyce, Publisher & Dir. Advertising



"Hey Joe. Wow, I'm very surprised by your reply. This saddens me greatly, but I guess it's all part of the business.



"Hey Sorry kids have to eat....if you're never going to advertise with us I can't justify the cost of covering your releases"

All the typos, I'm assuming, are from the author of the email. Matthew Johnson says "I am not saying they have done anything WRONG or ILLEGAL, but I do not choose to work with companies like this." I'm not surprised if every company does this, but they don't put it in writing.

Such behavior simply goes to show you, a self-described "highly influential force within the indie rock genre" is still about business, with their help-us-help-you mentality. It's a payola situation, plain and simple. Even worse, it's a shill. You want press? You want coverage? You have got to kick out the cash to get it. Put us on your payroll (by giving us ad revenue), and we'll hype your product. You want our magazine to write about your releases? We'll write a good review if you buy a 1/2 page ad. Oh, you want a full page? Well, for that, we'll interview your band and give them a headline on the bottom right of the cover. Two pages, you say? That's a cover story.

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