The effect music reviews can have on bands and musicians
Opinionated music journalism effects musicians
The love, and indeed the hate, for music is something we all share. We all share different preferences and opinions and have the right to them. But do we have the right to publicly rate and judge others who have different opinions, for the sake of readership and ultimately money?
Music to a large degree is subjective, meaning the opinion pertains to the individual who perceives it. Being a musician is a journey, and just like how everyone grows up and matures, so too does the musician. They are not necessarily the same musician as when they started out. Things change; your outlook on life, the music you listen to, the band mates you play with and the friends you have all affect the person – the musician – and ultimately effects their inspiration. The journey of a musician is a musical evolution which should forever be changing, for this is how a musician discovers oneself.
Music, we all know, is big business. Everybody can relate to various genres of music, and with technology, there are as many genres of music as there are people in the world, each with their own opinion, preference, influence and inspiration. How can a person judge another musicians creativity and hard work because the style or execution of their music doesn't fall within the acceptable boundary of that particular persons preferences. With music being so popular, there is obvious millions of people wanting to find information of their favourite band, or they are interested in finding articles of bands they may possibly like. That is where music publications come in. Many publications will have interviews, band reviews or gig reviews for the public to read and get some kind of idea of the artists out there. I have read many band and gig reviews and have always thought it was a good way to get publicity. Even if the write up was not generous or flattering, any publicity is good publicity. My views have changed.
I've noticed a change in reviews. Some music journalists and writers are quite opinionated with their reviews. Some actually think its good to tear a band apart because the writer holds a negative opinion of the band. Sadly it make good reading for many out there and these negative reviews become popular. Personally I find gig reviews pointless. Bands go out of their way to ask music publication to send a reviewer to their shows, in the hopes they will get a review in the magazine, but are often disappointed when they read the review only to find it is negative.
Music is personal because it is an expression of individuality. It differs from person to person, that is why different musicians sound different. Its their individuality that they are expressing, and for another person to write a review based on their own opinions is ridiculous. The fact is there will always be someone to love and to hate your work. Reviewers and writers hold the hopes of musicians in their hands, especially the rookie musicians. The ones who love what they do and want to be recognized and respected in the industry. A bad review can cause turmoil in a band, perhaps even cause the breakup of a band.
What we need to accept is that a musician is on their musical journey of discovery. What they play now is not what they are going to be playing next year, or even next month. Great musicians will explore many possibilities, drawing inspiration from a variety of genres, styles and other musicians who were obviously inspired by different elements. If a band wants to be original they have to venture out of the shell that they know. Each musician should listen to various styles and incorporating it into what they already have, thus changing and evolving their sound. A lot of people seem to have a resistance to original, unique music. A music journalist writing a harsh review for a band's gig is writing an article for just that moment. There are infinite reasons why a band may perform poorly on any given night. It is what happens, its inevitable. We are human and are prone to making mistakes. We need to respect the creativity of others, not make them feel bad for what they are doing. It is a journey and we should be encouraging each other to create out of purity.
I urge bands to be themselves and be patient. It literally takes years to find the right, like-minded musicians to play with. Don't beg for reviews, bands have NOTHING to prove. A band is on stage to share their creativity, performance and expression. That is already a hard thing to do, the last thing any creative person needs is a shitty review, making them feel embarrassed about their individual expression. That review may change the course of that person's creative journey, maybe even causing them to quit. Be mindful and respectful, just because you don't like the music a band plays, doesn't mean you have to publicly mock them for the sake of entertainment. That is selling out.