At the end of 2013, we set up a new commissioning system for CD reviews. With the new system in place, we have published 158 reviews. Over 80% of CDs which we have asked to be sent to us have generated a review on the site.
We recently introduced a new system for reviewing CDs under the supervision of our new Commissioning Editor Catherine Ford. Under this system, Catherine centralizes all requests for CD review coverage we receive, and sends a weekly circular email to our panel of roughly twenty-five reviewers, who elect to cover what interests them.
OUR OBJECTIVES WITH THIS NEW CENTRALLY MONITORED SYSTEM WERE:
- we wanted to increase the number of CD reviews published while ensuring quality and impartiality standards.
- we wanted to give breadth to what we cover, and the reviewing voices, so that readers can be surprised by what they discover .
- we wanted to give our writers an element of choice, even control, to pick things they were likely to be interested in, or were just curious to hear.
FOR LABELS, PUBLICISTS AND MUSICIANS RELEASING THEIR OWN CDs:
- we wanted to reduce randomness in the process and reduce the cost of all the unnecessary promo copies that are sent out
- we wanted to provide a low-cost opportunity for little-known and under-resourced musicians self-releasing CDs to get albums reviewed via a transparent procedure.
- by ensuring that CDs are sent directly to writers, we don't incur extra costs in on-forwarding them.
WHERE WE ARE/ THE RESULTS:
The results of the first seven months are
- we have produced 158 CD reviews, that is almost one new review each day.
- Catherine instigated coverage of 193 CDs and asked them to be sent out.
- That means we are reviewing 82% of the CDs which we receive through the new system
MOST-READ CD REVIEWS:
Our five most read reviews are:
Mehldau Guiliana Taming the Dragon by Alison Bentley
L'Arpeggiata / Pluhar Music for a While by Alison Bentley
Chet Baker Italian Movies by Nicolas Pillai
Tord Gustavsen Extended Circle by Adrian Pallant
John McLaughlin The Boston Record by Rob Mallows
We cannot cover everything, nobody can. Clearly, other publications have more scale, access to more resources, and do far more reviewing than we do. And like any new system, we learn as we proceed. Nothing stands still; what we do and the ways we do it have room to develop further.
Anyway, to artists whose CDs we have not been able to cover we apologise - we do what we can. And to our reviewers, readers, and to Catherine, thank you.
Finally to the creators: the vibrancy, the depth, the variety and the surprise of what arrives from you for us to cover is a constant inspiration.