The Black Crowes Manager Issues An Open Letter To Maxim Magazine And James Kaminsky

The Black Crowes' manager issues statement:

In my thirty years in the music business, I have never once written a letter to any publication to discuss or oppose a "review" of my artist's work. Any artist or manager who has survived a dramatically changing musical landscape, and experienced some longevity throughout, has a clear understanding that both good and bad reviews are part of the scenery.

However, this letter was not written to address a bad "review" but rather a fabricated album review that your magazine published even though your "music critic" had not heard more than one song.

In our business, a fabricated review is a serious concern that may ultimately harm all artists because it calls into question the credibility of the entire review process.

A February 20th email response from a Maxim representative stated in part:

"On the rare occasion that we are not given music because of our lead time or unavailability of the tunes, we make an educated guess ... Of course, we always prefer to hearing the music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don't want to ignore that aren't available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It's either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former."

In your publication's first attempt to deal with this issue publicly, a Maxim representative had only this to say in their official statement:

"Maxim will continue to provide our readers with information that is important to them, whether it is about fashion, lifestyle, technology, music, movies and more."

As the media coverage increased dramatically, it seems that your publication realized that the above statement failed to address the scope of the issue, and then released the following:

"It is Maxim's editorial policy to assign star ratings only to those albums that have been heard in their entirety. Unfortunately, that policy was not followed in the March 2008 issue of our magazine and we apologize to our readers."

Mr. Kaminsky, your explanation would be interesting as to why you felt it was acceptable to address only your readers in your apology statement and completely neglect to mention The Black Crowes, whose music your publication denigrated in a fabricated album review.

I believe that after the flood of negative media coverage directed towards Maxim, only then did the publication feel it necessary to issue a public apology to its readership to contain the damage caused by its actions.

I also believe that the reason you omitted The Black Crowes from your apology was because your only concerns during this entire situation have been to protect Maxim's bottom line and the potentially tarnished perception to your readers.

Yesterday, you were quoted in an Associated Press interview stating in part:

"I will be the last person to mince words here: This is a mistake. ... There should be no blurry line between what's a preview and what's a review."

Contrary to your above referenced statement, it seems that your magazine's actions have created an extremely blurry line, if there is any line at all, between "what's a preview and what's a review." Shouldn't a proper "preview" notify the reader that an artist's work is forthcoming, whereas a "review" offers an opinion of the material after someone has actually heard the music?

In this case, Maxim's preview offered an opinion on an entire album based on having heard no more than the one track that had been released to radio, "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution," and went so far as to assign a star rating.

Please enlighten your readership and me, or at the very least your staff, as to what your definitions and guidelines are for previews versus reviews.

Apparently the "mistake" has allegedly occurred with another artist. The recording artist Nas publicly stated that Maxim gave his unheard, unfinished material a 2.5 star rating. Was that a preview or a review that rated his material while he was still in the recording studio? In either instance, I feel it is indefensible.

In yesterday's Associated Press article, the full extent of your accountability to The Black Crowes was covered as follows:

"In his interview with the AP, Kaminsky officially apologized to the Crowes."

After three public statements made by your publication, I feel that offering an apology through an Associated Press writer without addressing the band directly is offensive.

Although my comments may be perceived as unforgiving, the fact remains: Maxim has yet to issue a public apology directly to The Black Crowes.

Although I maintain that Maxim should act in good faith and issue a public statement of apology to The Black Crowes, as was done for your readers, I feel that this issue was important to expose on behalf of all artists and expect that Maxim will follow the publication's claimed policies in the future.

Sincerely, Pete Angelus Angelus Entertainment



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