The End of Music Reviews

Music reviews in 2017 are stupid.

When a new CD cost $15.99 at Tower Records and there was little way to figure out how much you were going to enjoy all the other songs beyond the radio single, writing a review of the new music made sense. Inform people about the product before they spend their money.

Fast forward, there’s almost zero need to inform people about a music album because of the internet. Spotify provides free access to new music. Even buying from iTunes or Google provides buyers a minute and 30-second samples of the songs for free. In which case, why does 500+ words need to be spilled on telling people whether the music is good or not? They can decide for themselves faster than it takes to read a review.

What about the cultural element a review provides in showcasing this new music? That is important, but it no longer needs to be a “review.” Reviews should be transformed into conversations and discussions.

In that vein, and also the understanding that publishers need to create content, I’d rather see different takes than the straight-froward, “here’s a review.” Need some options to spark your imagination?


Writing about music should be a discussion and make people want to press play for themselves—even if it’s not flattering commentary—to see what the conversation is about, rather than simply being told this is for you and to move on.

Let’s be honest, rating and reviewing art never made sense in the way reviewing and rating tech products does. A melody is harder to quantify than a piece of hardware.

If you really want to review music you should quantify it to death, pull in data about the songs characteristics and rate them individually. That way you produce a visual graph which can easily be shared on social media. But, I tried that and it didn’t seem to go anywhere.


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