Category : Reviewing
You may or may not have been familiar with the amazing Splendid Ezine. But if you ever put together your own CD or CD-R as an indie musician, chances are you came across the site when looking for places to send it for review. And now, it’s quietly closed up shop… so quietly that I didn’t even know it was gone until I went to look at the site a little while ago. They ceased releasing new material on Dec 31, 2005.
So why the big fuss over the demise of just another online indie review site? There are still a ton of places to send music for review, and an increasing number of music and mp3 blogs whose opinions are deemed at least as worthy as traditional CD review sites.
Well, since 1996 (nine long years, an eternity online) Splendid had been operating under the policy of reviewing EVERYTHING they received in the mail. I mean everything. Every CD, CD-R, Cassette, 7″, 12″ that came through the doors got the same treatment. I remember on their FAQ page them saying something to the effect that if you sent in 10 CDs of your grandma playing Klezmer music, they would most likely review a few of them. They prided themselves on listening to and reviewing the most obscure music on the planet.
Edited by George Zahora and boasting a huge lineup of writers dedicated to covering true independent music, Splendid was a godsend for indie musicians. This was one of the few places where you had a good shot at getting music honestly reviewed if you weren’t a big indie label player. One of the first reviews that we ever got for a CD at Shmat Records was from Splendid. I remember being surprised and pleased as hell to see it up there. Sure, there was often a bit of a wait… but no more than many other review sites that wouldn’t give you the time of day anyway.
I actually have the screenshot at right of the Splendid Ezine site taken on January of 2005. I have this because of a near paranoiac habit of screenshotting website pages with our actual reviews, for fear that they might one day fold, taking our reviews with them. (I also save the actual text too.) Hmm.. I guess I wasn’t too far off base.
As for the reasons for them shutting down, I have to say that I completely understand why it happened. It’s an example of the better mousetrap gone awry. It hits home particularly hard. Let me get up on the soapbox to explain.
For the reviews at Shmat, we’ve encountered the exact same debilitating problems that they did (albeit on a much smaller scale). Having a true open submission policy eventually leads to more review material than can be handled by just a few writers. The quality and integrity of the writing becomes jeopardized, as the backlog of CDs increases.
Continue reading “A Splendid Demise” …