You know the routine: Your favorite artist releases a new album and you get really excited about it. But with the ridiculous record store prices and your dwindling college budget, you check the review for the album that your favorite magazine or Web site just published. You find out the reviewer who was assigned the album doesn’t like it and you end up not getting the album.
The truth is, artists nowadays have a miserable job. First, they have to struggle through years of creativity and desperation to actually “make it” and get a record deal to even become a legitimate artist. Then, once they are on a label, they have to make albums and perform live shows. When they decide to make an album, they have to spend at least a year on it.
Writing the songs, collaborating with producers, recording and eventually mixing and mastering – the process of making an album is grueling. Then, even once the album is done, the artist, label and manager must publicize and market the release to the point that the album even sells enough for the artist and label to break even.
Amid all of that, one unsuspecting listener reviews the artist’s album, under the pretense that they are experts in the field. More often than not, these individuals are misinformed and completely miss the point or meaning behind the artist’s effort. Basically, a reviewer can absolutely dismiss years of an artist’s work with a few finger strokes on a keyboard.
So, the question arises: Is reviewing an album fair? Is it reasonable that writers have the control over an artist’s work and the public’s response to it?
As awful as it may be, and as inconsiderate the efforts of music writers may be, reviews are necessary. At the same time, however, every single album reviewer and writer in general has a duty to all musicians to be knowledgeable and well-informed. The crux of the paradox lies in that ignorance and knowledge are the helm of entertainment journalism and both sides must swear by it.
Dan Buyanovsky is a freshman majoring in entrepreneurship. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.