Idolator has a post today about promo CDs and music journalists (two rapidly-fading tastes that once tasted great together). Their entry is in response to an LA Weekly article concerning broke-as-a-joke music writers and their not-entirely-secret cash cow.
Having been both a full-time music scribe and a record store clerk, I know what its like to be up to your ass in free CDs. Stuff that might be good for a spin or two but doesn’t merit space on your shelf, or crap you’d never listen to in a million years (anything by David Gray, the last five Beck albums, post-Bright Lights Interpol, etc.), but nonetheless commands
top medium dollar at the nearest used shop.
Alas, the days of quasi-illegally supplementing one’s income by reselling promos are all but over. First, there aren’t any record stores left to accept your shady wares; second, today’s PR hacks are all about "digital servicing" — meaning they e-mail you files with 25 separate passwords and watermarking up the wazoo.
I can’t remember the last time I sold a promo CD. It always seemed like more hassle than it was worth, but it was kind of fun to "game" the system — knowing precisely when a new release would drop value, and combining that insight with a hoard and dump strategy. The extra scratch was kinda cool, too — it certainly helped me buy a few rounds at the bar.
Then again, the death of this ecosystem means I no longer have to deal with stacks and stacks of lame music and those envelopes with the crumbly papery stuff inside that pollutes your immediate surroundings with a cloud of horrid dust that might as well be anthrax. Always looking on the bright side, am I.