Why Leaf Music won’t do business with Fanfare Magazine

As the owner of Leaf Music, I want to shed light on why we have chosen not to do business with Fanfare Magazine due to their unethical practices. In a series of emails dating back to 2020, exchanged between Emily Wehberg, Manager of Label Relations at Naxos of America, Inc., several Leaf Music artists, and myself, the disturbing business practices of Fanfare Magazine came to light. These practices involved demanding payment from artists in exchange for favourable coverage and payments to publish demanding money from artists for additional space for a second review after writing a very negative and unfair one. These practices violate our professional and ethical standards.

Fanfare Magazine approached Leaf Music, asking for payment in return for positive reviews and additional coverage. While negative reviews are a part of the industry, the act of extorting money for favourable coverage is completely unacceptable. As a label, we value honest feedback and recognize that not every review will be positive. However, demanding payment in exchange for a review undermines the integrity of music journalism.

Upon learning about Fanfare Magazine’s practices, Naxos took the matter seriously and initiated internal discussions within Naxos of America’s senior management. Her swift response demonstrated their commitment to upholding ethical standards in the industry as well. As a result, Leaf Music decided to halt promotional materials shipments to Fanfare Magazine, ensuring that they would no longer receive our products.

In addition to our own experiences, we discovered that Fanfare Magazine had repeated this unethical behaviour with other artists. These negative and unfair reviews have also been posted on sites like Amazon.com. The invective and negative comments in the reviews do not appear fair because the feedback, in our opinion, is not written by someone who actually listened to the sound recording in question.

We at Leaf Music take great pride in acting with integrity toward our artists and colleagues. This has been an important part of our growth over the past decade. Upholding ethical practices means that we must refuse to engage in business with organizations that undermine the integrity of the music industry. By cutting ties with Fanfare Magazine, we send a clear message that we will not support or tolerate unscrupulous practices.

Credibility and integrity are paramount in the music industry, even though there can be a lack of it at times. Musicians, labels, and audiences rely on the professionalism and objectivity of music journalists and reviewers to provide unbiased and insightful assessments. Fanfare Magazine’s demand for payment in exchange for coverage tarnishes the reputation of music journalism and erodes trust in such publications.

Our decision not to do business with Fanfare Magazine emphasizes the importance of upholding ethical standards in the music industry. It is crucial to foster an environment of trust, respect, and genuine artistic appreciation. By refusing to support publications that engage in unethical practices, we contribute to preserving integrity and professionalism in the industry.

Jeremy VanSlyke
Owner / Founder, Leaf Music

From: Joel Flegler <fanfaremag@aol.com>
Date: May 28, 2020 at 12:50:12 PM ADT
Subject:About the review


I’ve just received an unedited review of your CD, which I’ve attached to this message. I know that you’ll be disappointed that the reviewer reacted this way to your CD, but I respect his opinion. However, I’d like to give you the option of having a second review, and I would be willing to publish that other writer’s review immediately following the original review, and also upload it to our website. (If you put six critics in a room and have them listen to the same CD, you’ll get six different opinions!) In order to devote additional space to the second review, though, I need to ask you to support the magazine either by purchasing an advertisement or an interview proposal.* You would have the ability to edit and approve the interview before publication. The next step would be for you to mail five copies of the CD. Please get back to me by June 5 if you’re interested in proceeding.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Joel Flegler, Editor, Fanfare, PO Box 17, 17 Lancaster Rd., Tenafly, NJ 07670, US, www.fanfarearchive.com, Phone 201 567-3908

*Please note that this same offer is being sent to other musicians regardless of the Amazon ratings that their CDs have received, 1* up to 5*. Payment for this offer will be due May 1, 2021.