When email filtering goes wrong...
I get a lot of emails. Sometimes as many as 300 per day. In order to keep inbox management from becoming my solitary role at the label, I began aggressively filtering my emails using Gmail filters and labels.
On an average day these filters are a godsend, but today I want to tell the story of how an automatic email filter resulted in a missed opportunity to release a great album. Many of you may be aware of the Square payment processing service. At JNR we don't use this all the time, but we do occasionally use Square for in person events, local shows, etc. And whenever the app is used, I receive consecutive emails detailing every transaction - which is annoying as shit. Of course I could have gone into the Square account settings and changed the email preferences, but that would require finding a password for an account I rarely use... So naturally I chose the easier path: setting up a filter in my Gmail account that identifies all emails from Square, marks them as read, and drops them into my email archive.
One fatal flaw with how this filter was set up: the identifier used to determine if the email was from Square was the username "Square" and not a specific email address. I do not specifically remember setting up this filter, but I may have set it up this way to include instances where Square might use a variety of email address (i.e. if they chose to use "firstname.lastname@example.org" instead of "email@example.com" or something). But this was a critical flaw.
At some point after setting up this filter, a great band was introduced to me through our guy Mike Bridavsky (Lil BUB, Memory Map). This band is called Square Peg Round Hole. And though the initial email came through without a hitch, the band eventually switched from the band member's personal email account to one branded with the band name... just before sending me their final master for consideration. As a result, the four emails that were sent to me from 12/8/14 through 2/22/15 went unnoticed. Contained in these emails was a link to an amazing finished record... It's quite possible that we would have released this album had those emails not been automatically marked as read and archived.
The only reason I am even aware that the band sent me anything at all is that I happened to see a video in my Facebook feed, prompting my curiosity, "oh yeah whatever happened to that band?" One inbox search later and I discovered how they've been trying to reach me and how I missed the opportunity because of the poorly set up email filter.
But this is not all a sad story, Square Peg Round Hole ended up releasing with Spartan Records, which from what I can tell is a good label, and it looks like the band has a promising career. Take a listen for yourself below, or buy the vinyl here.
And while you're at it, and double check that your email filters are set up properly.