Sep. 27th, 2007

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I've been toting around a state-issued ID for the past ten years because my Driver's License was suspended. Now that I've finally paid off the thousands of dollars required to get it out of hock, I'm finally a legal road pilot again.

I just got my new license in the mail, and now I'm playing a depressing game of "Watch my Jowls Take Over My Face" by placing each of my ID photos together in chronological order:

ID pics

Who knows what the next four years have in store for my sagging booze chin?

In other news, I no longer feel any shame over being REJECTED by the folks at CMJ-- turns out they didn't even listen to some of the submissions before turning them away. Here's the scoop, courtesy of my least favorite site on the internet, Pitchfork:

"Did CMJ Reject Artists Without Even Listening to Them?

Though it seems as though, like, everybody plays the CMJ Music Marathon-- the annual musicstravaganza going down on the streets of New York October 16-20-- the real purpose is to highlight acts slightly lower on the radar. Thousands of bands from all over the musical landscape apply for the chance to score a slot on any one of dozens upon dozens of bills, but there's only so many hours in the long weekend, and only so many clubs in New York City. Eventually, something's gotta give.

But a rather sizable group of artists who had sent in their application materials to CMJ were turned away from the conference in a couple of peculiar ways. First, when they received their rejection emails, they found that CMJ had forgotten to use the BCC function. Thus, the identity of hundreds of rejects was revealed.

CMJ blamed Sonicbids, the MySpace-like site they employed to let bands submit songs and press kits electronically. Sonicbids' system allows the artist to see how many times their songs have been played. Many CMJ applicants were furious to discover that their songs had received zero plays, and called foul on CMJ for not even giving them-- or their $45 application fees-- any consideration.

When we contacted CMJ about this, we received the following statement from Matt McDonald, Vice President, Artists & Events:

"We very much appreciate the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that each artist puts into his/her music, and the CMJ Music Marathon wouldn't have lasted for 27 years if that appreciation were not in clear focus for everyone involved in the event. As head of the staff who reviews the music and selects the artists for the marathon, I can tell you firsthand that we do in fact listen to at least two songs from every single artist who applies. For the ease of listening, the showcase department downloads mp3s from Sonicbids EPKs and drops them into our iTunes player. Sonicbids has recently changed their system to track streamed plays, however it does not currently track these mp3 downloads, making it appear that we did not listen when in fact we did. We can report back which specific songs were reviewed. Our review process is extremely thorough and difficult and with or without payment for submissions, I cannot even fathom the injustice of ignoring any submissions. I can reassure you that each and every artist was given the same respect and critique."

So, in an effort to get to the bottom of all this, we threw a track that sounds an awful lot like "Chocolate Rain" onto SonicBids under our new Pitchfork office band name, Solarski and the Solarskies (, rec'd, not yet BNM). We then proceeded to stream and download the track a number of times, watching the play count all the while. To say the SonicBids software is erratic is an understatement: our play count was, at one point, as high as nine, but currently sits at zero. But we downloaded a lot more than we streamed, and SonicBids appeared to be logging each download. For a while, at least.

Whatever the source of the wonkiness, the artists, understandably, are pretty pissed. Those who have contacted us feel as though their time and money were wasted on this effort. A little multiplication would suggest that CMJ is netting over $30,000 from these rejectees, and that's assuming every rejectee received the e-mail with the faulty BCC.

Even without the computer glitch, many are complaining that CMJ should've capped the number of applications it accepted to something closer to the number of available slots. Most are demanding a reimbursement.

As consolation, CMJ is offering those bands whose applications were denied a discounted pass to the marathon. Think they'll take it?"


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