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2005 Muse's Muse Awards Intro Page
By Gian F - 10/31/2005 - 11:53 PM EST

Hello Muse's Muse artists and industry associates.

This was an incredible year for music that produced more quality submissions which resulted in the largest number of reviews that I have ever done in any single year as a Muse's Muse reviewer!

I received great projects from the sunny shores of Hawaii, and an increased amount of submissions from the entertainment capitals of New York, LA, and Nashville, as well as from the distant corners of the world which included Australia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nova Scotia, and Europe. I also received a record number of projects from labels, managers, agents, publicists, and attorneys. Needless to say, there were far more options to choose from and that made things very competitive.

This year, my Muse's Muse Awards have been expanded significantly. There are more categories and more winners. For those who look closely, you will discover that the high scores given in my reviews don't always translate into victory. Those scores are a reflection of the talent level in the various categories as they relate to current industry values. The Muse's Muse Awards are based partially on those scores, but are more reflective of my instincts and the talent that I've developed in recognizing depth of talent, and commercial potential in songs, during the 20 years in which I have worked as a personal manager and music industry consultant.

Because it's always been my goal to write comprehensive reviews in hopes of uncovering commercial gems for the industry, I thought it would be beneficial (and fun) to share some insight into the commonality and challenges that I share with A&R reps and music supervisors who also receive a high volume of CDs. Please read the following fast facts.




FAST FACTS:

-I received 720 submissions this year.
-Out of 720 submissions I only reviewed 56, which averages to 1 out of every 13 CDs being reviewed.
-32 reviews were of solo female music artists.
-9 reviews were of solo male music artists.
-12 reviews were of bands.
-3 reviews were of duos/groups.
-The amount of time I spent previewing music to determine if I would review it: 10,800 minutes (average of 15 minutes per CD in comparison to the 60 seconds spent by record label execs).
-The amount of time I spent listening to artists that I reviewed: 3,360 minutes (1 hour minimum).
-Total amount of minutes dedicated to the music reviewing process: 14,160 or roughly 240 hours.
-That equates to about 10 days.
-A small fraction of time spent doing something I absolutely love...

OBSERVATIONS:

-Most people know what their best songs are and place them at the beginning of their projects.
-Most projects go down hill in quality once you get past the first 5 songs.
-On average, there are only 3 quality songs on a CD containing a minimum of 10 songs.
-There are more songs being placed on CDs in the U.S.
-There is a growing trend towards EPs (CDs containing an average of 4 tracks, maximum of 8) from European artists.
-Not many artists are releasing follow-up CDs. I have received just 3 follow-up projects from previously reviewed artists in 4 years.
-An increasing number of artists choose to omit ballads from their projects.
-Quality dance music is obviously not easy to make: it was the worst genre for which I received submissons.
-Women rule: Of the 720 CDs I received, 430 were from women.
-The most submissions were in: Adult Alternative, Adult Contemporary, and Rock.
-The fewest submissions were in: R&B, Jazz, Country, Gospel, and Reggae.
-The genre which contained the best engineering: Adult Contemporary, Country, and Rock.
-The genre which contained the worst engineering: Rap.
-The genres that are hardest to define: Pop, R&B, and Adult Alternative.

THAT'S COOL...

-People who take the time to send thank you notes/emails. They are paychecks that I deposit into my heart.
-People who send promotional items. I've been wearing the McKenzie Burns T-shirt they sent for over a year. People always ask, "What's the McKenzie Burns Project?" and I direct them to their site.
-People who actually take heed to the advice I give at the end of each review. It has made a difference for many.
-People who send videos. I became an instant Mardo fan after seeing their video. They have "it" and their video shows it.

THAT'S NOT VERY COOL...

-People who don't include an introduction letter with their project. It's easier (and faster) to write than a review.
-People who send CDs shrink wrapped. Please remove the shrink wrap! Itís an inconvenience - especially after opening 20 CDs in a row.
-People who don't read the information on my profile page to understand my commercial niche.
-People who send press from other reviewers to persuade me to review them. Only the commercial quality of your music will do that.
-People who send food. No thanks. I'm only hungry for great music.
-People who distort my words on their website. Come on, I only write positive reviews to begin with.




Before announcing this year's Muse's Muse Award Winners, I wanted to congratulate a couple of last year's 2004 winners on the achievements they've had since I first reviewed them.

Escape From Earth: You may have seen this Muse's Muse Award winner performing in a Coke commercial which is airing frequently during Diddy's Making Of The Band III on MTV. They won a contest through Coke over nearly 5,000 competing bands from across the nation for the most devoted and talented un-signed musical artists in the country. In addition, Escape From Earth will appear in the December/January issue of Teen People Magazine, which hits the shelves on November 4, 2005...must be the X Factor I identified in my review. Congratulations guys! The late summer of 2006 will be BIG for you.

Sonicjoy: This Muse's Muse Award Winner who received several awards including the top honor for Best CD, has landed multiple licensing deals including the TV movie, "Remembrance," airing this month (November 2005) on PBS. Congratulations!

Draw Tippy: This Muse's Muse Award Winner has had his music used on MTV's Inferno 2 and Real World Austin. Congratulations!

Elly K: This Muse's Muse Award Winner has a song that is prominently featured in a key scene in an upcoming David Bowie film. Congratulations!

Thanks to all of the Muse's Muse Artists for trusting my professional opinion and helping to establish me as an authority on commercial music. The projects that I listened to repeatedly this year (Sara Bareilles; Jen Woodhouse; Eliot Popkin; Muller & Patton; Keahi Wai; 75 Degrees; Jennifer Greer; Stephanie Sante; and Eric Kamen) helped make my frequent trips to LA from the San Francisco Bay Area more enjoyable. Many of the songs from them have become the soundtrack to this transitional chapter in my life, and I will always associate them with the special moments and events that transpired throughout this past year.

With no further delay, it's my pleasure to announce the recipients of Gian's 2005 Muse's Muse Awards...



Musically Yours,

~G~

Gian Fiero, Senior Music Reviewer
The Muse's Muse


Click here for a list of Gian's 2005 Muse's Muse Award Winners For The Best CD Projects



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