#1014: Integrity

RECORD STORE TALES #1014: Integrity

Although I keep complaining about views being down, therefore ad revenues also being down, I have turned down an advertising opportunity for this site.  Normally this would not be anything to write an article about, but something about it didn’t feel right from the start.  Sharing my experience with readers might offer some interesting insight.

I have done paid “advertorials” in the past.  Most notably, I received an offer from someone representing Guns N’ Roses to post a “review roundup” by a guest author.  No problem.  We agreed on a price and I was sent a well-written article with links.  I posted it and the client was happy.  I posted it as a guest editorial, since I didn’t write it.  No issue from the Guns camp.  Everyone was happy.  (I had another advertorial offer from Kiss but I was on hiatus at that time.)

I frequently get offers to run ads for online casinos and other things that have nothing to do with music.  I have always turned them down.  This site is supposed to be about music, but it’s so schizophrenic topic-wise that I don’t want to make it worse by running articles about online gambling.  Easy to say no to those, regardless of the money involved.

This week I received another offer from a search engine optimization company based out of India.  The email was from a “Digital Marketing Executive”.

“I just landed on your blog fanpage ‘MikeLeBrain’ and was wondering if you’re accepting guest posts on your blog,” he asked.

I’m not sure what “blog fanpage” he was asking about, but I responded yes, I am accepting music-related guest posts.  I let him know my rate in US dollars and he responded in the positive.  He said the article will be well written, and according to my “blog theme”.  But there were some conditions that we didn’t have with the Kiss or Guns N’ Roses offer.  Some that bothered me included:

2) Links should be Dofollow – 1 Client link, 1 internal link, and 2 High authority links.

I don’t know what those terms mean and I didn’t get any clarification.

3) The post must be on the homepage for some time and it should be accessible from the home page (via a relevant category).

As readers know, I post daily.  Not every article I post is going to be accessible from the home page forever.  Generally people use the search function to find a relevant review.  This condition made me uncomfortable.

Now here’s the kicker.

4) Article should not be marked as a sponsored post, paid post, guest post, etc.

That was a dealbreaker.  Guns N’ Roses was clearly a guest post.  They had no issues with that.  If I didn’t write it, it’s automatically a guest post.  That’s what guest post means.

I then responded that I had to decline their offer.  The guest post issue was the problem.  I explained that I had to mark a guest post as such.  I’m not going to have someone else write words and then claim that they’re mine.  No way.  Absolutely no way.

I believe I made the right decision.  The executive ignored my declining email, and continued on.

“We will send you all the details before sending the articles like topic, anchor text and client link for approval.  After the article is written we will send to you for review.  We do not want our post to be marked with any kind of disclosure.  You can publish the article under your writer name, or our writer name.”

For the second time, I declined.  It did not feel right.

“As I said before, I have passed on this.  Not the right fit.  Sorry,” I responded.

Here’s what really sticks in my craw:  “You can publish the article under your writer name.”

No way.  Absolutely no way.  I’m not putting your words down as if they were mine.  No.  Way.

Sure, he added “or our writer name” but to not post it as a guest post?  Just strange.  Nothing about this felt right regardless of the money.  I know I made the right decision, even if I’m losing out on money.  My integrity is worth more than that.


#900: Integrity Mix Again

[Integrity Mix] was an idea that came from Kevin.  For a while there, he was making a new mix CD every month, made up of the best stuff he was listening to in the last 30 days or so.  The idea was, you’d have a neat chronicle of your most impactful listening experiences.  And a good mix CD in general.  —  From Record Store Tales Part 46:  Integrity Mix


RECORD STORE TALES #900: Integrity Mix Again

In the years before beginning to publish my writings, I poured my musical creative energy into making mix CDs.  I spent hours on them.  I tested them in the car before giving them them “OK”.  I called them “Integrity Mix”, after one of Tom’s favourite words.  Integrity.  Music with integrity, people with integrity…that was Tom’s word.  The concept of the CD originated with Kevin, one of the guys I worked with at the very end of the Record Store.  Kevin and I had a falling out over the way I portrayed the store, but he deserves credit for many things, including these mix CDs.

The idea was simple.  Make a new mix CD every month (or so), made up on songs you were into during that period.

It was a great concept and one which I latched onto with gusto.  I made many, and some months ended up getting double CDs because there was just too much music that needed to be remembered.  Each one had a cover, though some were just simple track listings, some were more elaborate.

It’s fun to put things away and not look at them for a long time.  That’s what happened with these discs.  When I switched gears to writing on a daily basis, I wanted to listen to full albums.  Mix CDs started to collect dust.  I hadn’t looked at my Integrity Mixes for about five years, but noticed them in a corner and thought it might be fun to have a look.

What I discovered was, without even having to play a single track, I could see by much of the artwork just what I was into at that given time.  Here are all the covers I made with some kind of art:

February 2008:  Arrested Development

September-October 2008:  “Bird is the Word” via Family Guy

December 2008-January 2009:  Kenny Vs. Spenny

February-March 2009:  Battlestar Galactica

January 2010:  UFOs

February 2010:  Dedicated to my buddy Chris Thuss who had just left work

June 2011:  Super Troopers

May 2008:  Transformers

The music often reflected the shows I was into.  “All Along the Watchtower” is a key track on the Battlestar Galactica disc.  You can find tracks from movie soundtracks.

Kevin was right about doing that.  Looking back at these discs, the tracklists, and dates, I can clearly remember events from my life.  I don’t have to guess when it was — the discs are all dated.  Brilliant idea Kevin.  I feel bad that we fell out, and I’m sorry that I ever hurt him.  I hope he would have enjoyed that his idea had legs and I kept going with it long after we worked together.  Credit where credit is due!










#340: A Tribute to Jeff Woods (GUEST SHOT by Uncle Meat)



#340: A Tribute to Jeff Woods

When you meet someone who has some sort of “celebrity” status, you almost expect them to be stand-off ish with you. A few years ago Tom and I won the chance as per a radio contest to see an intimate-type interview with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, which was conducted by Legends of Classic Rock/Q107 radio personality Jeff Woods.  We met Geddy and Alex very briefly and had a quick picture taken. However the true joy of this experience was our meeting afterwards with Jeff Woods.

Alex, Tom, Meat, Geddy

Alex, Tom, Meat, Geddy

He was extremely accommodating to our request of a sound byte for our Sausagefest recordings. He has continued to participate for a few years now and I thought I would post this to show just for appreciation to the man.

After a first try, he himself offers to “take it from the top”. He had known us for all of 30 seconds.  He excused himself to leave to get a pen, and come back and record so he could get it right.

Important side note…became Facebook friends with Mr. Woods a week after this was done. Looking over his timeline,  I noticed a post he put up days before we met him. It read, “Integrity is how you treat people that can do nothing for you”. Good to know someone out there practices what he preaches.