Music reviews

Reviewing Music: Should I Get Mad At This?

Many of my regular readers know that I love music.  Music is the reason this blog even exists.  I review a lot of music both here on this blog and on a few other music sites that I am currently writing for.

I work hard at my writing and spend a huge amount of my time exposing myself to new artists, listening to music that is new to me and checking out bands live.  I try not to be unkind to musicians even when I don’t like the music.

One thing that I have learned in the time that I have been doing this is that most musicians struggle to make a living.  I have been lucky enough to meet some fantastic people on my journeys around the grassroots festivals, many of the musicians I have met I am now proud to call friends.  I know first hand that these people work incredibly hard to scrape a living, they are constantly away from home, sleeping in tents or in their cars, driving thousands of miles to play in front of anyone who will listen.

The music industry is notoriously exploitative, for those lucky enough to get signed to a label punitive contracts often mean that even successful bands struggle.  Streaming makes things even more difficult, services like Spotify pay artists a pittance and the sheer volume of online music makes it increasingly more difficult for talent to find an audience.

I thought I had seen it all until yesterday.  I came across a blogger that is trying to charge artists to review their material.  £5 for a review of a single or EP. £10 for a review of an album.  Now this wasn’t a major outlet but a small time blog with barely any following.  The reality of this is that an already struggling artists is being asked to pay out without any realistic prospect of receiving any exposure in return.

I have been lucky enough to build a reasonable following on this blog and can offer exposure in mediums with considerably more clout than I have.  Let me say this very clearly.  Never in a million years would I ask an artist to pay me to review their music.  I regard it as a gift that artists are willing to ask my opinion on their art.  If I can help them even a little I regard that as a gift too.

I am perhaps fortunate in that I get a small income from my writing elsewhere and from selling the odd photograph but in any successful relationship both parties have to benefit.  If I were a high profile blogger with millions of subscribers then I could probably earn a decent income from advertising and from amazon market place but I would never and will never ask an artist to pay me for reviewing their music.

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About The Sound of Summer

Hi, I am Alan. I live in Broadstone, Dorset with my wife, Shirley, my son, Ryan and two dogs called Bailey and Jasper. I have recently retired after working in the Armed Forces and in Public Service since 1977 so I now have a bit more time to do the things I love. Music is a huge part of my life and always has been. I have a broad taste in music and can find something to enjoy in most styles of music. I have always been attracted to music which has something to say, is outside the mainstream and is perhaps a bit rebellious. I guess my early influences were late 1970's Punk and new wave bands, especially those who came out of Northern Ireland where I grew up. I loved Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones, Rudi, Starjets etc but also bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Jam and so on. I like singer songwriters including Van Morrison, Springsteen, Neil Young & Bob Dylan and in recent years I have become more interested in folk and acoustic music but I also love the sort of high drive energetic Folk/Punk music delivered by bands like The Levellers, Leatherat, Ferocious Dog and many others who frequent the UK Festival scene. I have long since lost the desire to spend my holidays laying around in the sun and these days am much more likely to be found in a muddy field somewhere in the UK during the festival season.

6 thoughts on “Reviewing Music: Should I Get Mad At This?

  1. gigsandbandsdotcom

    Reblogged this on Gigs & Bands |Music |Gig Guide | Reviews | Photos and commented:
    This is a really interesting post from fellow blogger Alan Ewart.

    Alan is a guy I respect, for many reasons, not least of which is his love of music.
    For the record I’ve never been paid to write a review and I wouldn’t take the money. I finance gigs and bands in the same way as Alan, by selling commercial content and photographs. If I say I like a band then it’s because I like them and not because they tipped me a few quid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. motherhendiaries

    Well stated… and I agree with you! It is a churlish thing to do, and I might add a bit cheeky for a blogger with a small following in any case. Perhaps they are new and “reaching for the stars” with unrealistic expectation. With those sorts of expectations and wanting to push into the front of the queue without putting in the hard graft to earn a readership? They’ll be here today, gone tomorrow. Nothing to worry about, really. It will die its death with hopefully few musicians duped into paying for what others will do better and for free.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. motherhendiaries

        And here we are, swimming in shark infested internet waters… who woulda thunk it? 🙂 They are everywhere, sadly. But here on WP, they are pretty rare. All my blogger friends are awesome, but I steer clear from anyone who looks like the exploitative/commercial type anyway. I’m not in this to get rich. Which is probably just as well – haha! Haven’t made a penny, but am having a great time being poor! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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