There Really Was a Golden Era of Promotion for Popular Music

Back in the ’80s and ’90s there were a number of independent promotional organizations, but not so many you couldn’t keep track of them and record labels promoted their own rosters. The jobs were more stable — experience was clearly more respected back then — and, I suspect, better-paying. I related to promotional people rather like fellow writers (remember when torrents of phone calls were the norm?). Some were on completely different tacks and I couldn’t rely on them for anything but straight information. A few had ears and tastes like mine — or at least understood mine — and if they were excited about something, I gave it extra attention. Strict professionalism was more common — if you covered an event or a release or did and interview, that was terrific, but if you turned something down flat, no problem, on to the next project.

Now nobody knows nothing about nobody. Or rather, I guess I should say it seems like that when everybody gets everything. I rarely watch music on TV, very rarely do interviews and almost never write about videos. But the notices and requests pour down every day. No one seems to know what styles of music and arts I prefer to write about or even where I live.

Easy to waste hours trimming email thickets. Most days, I feel the more I’m told, the less I know.

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