An Open Letter Re: iTunes Spam
AN OPEN LETTER TO ANY BAND WHO SPAMS (OR WOULD LIKE TO SPAM) ITUNES TO PROMOTE THEMSELVES:
Please stop doing that. And if you haven’t done it, don’t.
If you click on any given popular release on iTunes this week and read some of the user reviews, chances are you’ll come across somebody doing this…
“If you like Hoobastank, you’ll like Braintree.”
“If you like Nickelback, you’ll like Braintree.”
“Yo, fuck the Mountain Goats. They’re terrible. Listen to Braintree instead.”
You see what they’re doing there? They created dozens of spam accounts to pose as reviewers so they can promote their band. But here’s the thing — this band sounds like they forgot that the last fifteen years of music ever happened. And I realize that there are a lot of things about the last fifteen years of music that we’d like to forget — Limp Bizkit (coughcoughIhavetheirfirstcoughthreealbumscough what was I thinking when I was 15?), Crazy Town, Kidz Bop, Soulja Boy, rappers who turn themselves into singing robots via AutoTune, the seemingly endless waves of emo-pop-punk bands that all sound the same — but there’s been a lot of pretty awesome stuff released in that period too, y’know. Sounding like a grungy garage band is just so… 1995. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t say that I’ve heard a lot of demand for another Seven Mary Three album. Or Candlebox, for that matter, but that didn’t stop them from coming back last year. (And for the record, both of those bands are better than Braintree.)
Braintree isn’t the first to come up with this idea, though. Some band called Five Second Rule did the same crap a while back, posting stuff like this…
“I love this song! It reminds me of summer. You should check out Five Second Rule too, they ROCK!!!”
“This band is NOTHING compared to Five Second Rule!”
And then, of course, you’d go check out their music on iTunes, only to find that this incredible band that has been hyped more than the second coming of Jesus is just another cookie-cutter emo-pop-punk band that doesn’t really sound any different from anyone else among the hordes of cookie-cutter emo-pop-punk bands that have come out ever since Radioactive Man’s Sidekick hit it big with “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” And the only positive reviews came from the spam accounts themselves. Luckily, those spammers were soon removed.
Which brings me to the whole point of this rambling: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? All it’s going to do is irritate people who like to read honest opinions of a band’s work or people who really like Band A and think your band will sound like Band A based on your spam reviews even though you sound nothing like Band A. So they sample your crappy EPs and obscure albums and then leave scathing reviews about how annoying your spamming is, and if you piss them off enough, they might even campaign to get you kicked off of iTunes. Time well spent, guys. I can totally see why you’d do that instead of… oh, I don’t know… writing better songs, or improving your musicianship, or putting more thought into your lyrics. You come off as desperate and obnoxious, and nobody will buy anything from an obnoxious person unless his name is Billy Mays. (I can’t fucking stand that guy.)
Moral of the story: Don’t spam iTunes review sections. It’s called Myspace. Get a profile. Send out lots and lots of friend requests and ask people to check out your band. Be honest about who you sound like — if you tell people you sound like the Killers, but you actually sound like a third-rate Pearl Jam knockoff, don’t be surprised when you get angry messages from Killers fans telling you how much you suck. And don’t tear down other artists just to promote yourselves. Who do you think you are, Noel Gallagher?
I will now turn it over to Futurama‘s Dr. Zoidberg for my closing statements. If you reach a point where you’re so desperate to sell records that you’ll willingly piss off fans of better bands just to increase traffic to your home page, well…