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Pay to Play

Posted at 6:16 PM on April 17, 2007 by Alison Young

I know the Joshua Bell busking in the DC Metro story has been told and re-told to death. But, for me, it brought to mind how the other half lives. Last month, I attended a New York debut recital given by a friend and former flute student. She was the winner of a competition called Artists International that sponsored her Weill Hall recital at Carnegie. (Yes, she got to Carnegie by practicing!)

These days, if you're a Joshua Bell, your every move gets media coverage, but for my friend - a pedigreed, hard-working musician without a big name - the chance that one of the local papers would cover her recital were next to nil. So she took advantage of a service that has filled the void. New York Concert Review, Inc, which claims to recognize her and most young professional musicians' predicament, are there to help – for a price.

A basic review starts at $400 with additional cost should you want to add a photo. Seeing this as her only opportunity to get "written up," my friend splurged and essentially hired one of their staff - writers purported to have credits with The New York Times, Hi-Fidelity and Gramophone - to review her concert.

She got her review.

With her name misspelled.

Welcome to (the rest of) the world of professional musicians!