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Monday, February 20, 2006 

Music Reviews - Quality and Quantity Matters.

CD's truly do come a dime a dozen for music reviewers don't they? So, how do we as music writer's keep our ear fresh and musically educated enough on what's out there to write fairly about what we are reviewing?

As reviewers there is no better way to gain respect for your words than by; being honest in a professional and kind way, having a good ear, and be able to communicate your thoughts about a product uniquely enough to set you apart from everyone else. It doesn't do you, or the artist, any good to lie about a CD that you feel is so obviously horrible...and it also does nobody any good to be too objective or familiar using the 'same ole same ole' review tactics and formula. When someone sends you a CD...they are expecting your individual opinion. BE HONORED. Make your opinion count in their lives as recording artists. The words you write can make a big difference in a music career! We are all dreamers! We are all grasping for approval and recognition. In that, we should also want for truth if we truly want to grow.

Always leave the artist with something postitive to repeat in their press kits. Be genuine, sincere and credible. Use the interior of the review to talk about what you would like to hear differently or explore details of the perfection of the product if that's the case. Comment on the good thing(s) about it no matter how few there may be...and be honest about it's shortcomings in a way that makes the artist want to improve or at least respect your opinion as a professional.

It could mean the difference between your review mattering enough to be circulated in their press kits...thereby giving you more exposure as a reviewer, and it being tossed in the garbage along with your opinion. As a reviewer, your review being seen and reputable, is important if you intend to stay in the field with any longevity. It's a two way street. We only care... when you do :)

Artists should always take advantage of the words written, and learn to edit! :) This is, honestly, one area where taking things out of context can benefit you. Though you do not want to twist and manipulate a reviewer's intention - using a small portion of a sentence, and sentence 'trailing' can leave you glowing in a review that was otherwise sketchy and balanced with some not too attractive comments.
An example:


The Eager For Press Poncho's June, 2005 release is a nice addition to their musically savvy and vocally gifted collection of recordings, but a tad disappointing in comparison to previous releases. The energy is delicious and though a bit in your face, one can't help but 'shake their booty' to the percussive genious behind the skins. The guitar licks need some meat along with the tidy stylings - but overall, they sound at home and blend with lead singer, Bell Tidout, very nicely.


The Eager For Press Poncho's June, 2005 release is a nice addition to their musically savvy and vocally gifted collection of recordings....energy is delicious...one can't help but 'shake their booty'......tidy stylings. - Pete the Reviewer

When someone goes to the trouble of reviewing your CD, send them a thank you note. Even if you didn't like the review. Don't be afraid to be honest with those that review your product, but never approach what you consider to be a bad review with that "we are perfect - how could you say that?" arrogance and speak to the reviewer like they don't know what they are talking about and that their review sucked. While a reviewer is just one opinionated person..remember that while you are on your way up....so are they and you don't know where they may be reviewing projects next. Respect a reviewer with class. Even if they don't appreciate your CD.

There are many reviewers out there that love to review and listen to artists as they rise and develop new products. So just because they may give you a bad one at first, or one not particularly favorable, take into consideration the ezine or publication's popularity and when you release something new...try again with the same reviewer. But, don't allow one person's opinion to direct your career or affect your esteem either. If you came away from reading an honest assessment of your music, then you have learned something. Bad or good.

Peace, and plenty of tunes!
Annette Warner

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www.ListeningRoomTour.com (JUST LAUNCHED!)

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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