Earlier, I’ve written on my frustration with incompetent and uninterested reviewers writing uninteresting reviews in daily newspapers. Today, I, out of nowhere, came up with an idea how to fix this. First, however, it may not be necessary to fix it; who pays attention to music reviews in daily newspapers, particularly with the level they’re at right now?
What newspapers should do is to kick out all their lousy music journalists (which has a very positive side effect; the volum of drunk and self-important ‘journalists’ that demand free access to concerts and festivals would go down dramatically) and instead hire a few truly interested and devoted music lovers to track down quality online reviews written by blogging music lovers (a good review is written by a devoted music lover, and not a ‘critical’ name-dropping wanna-be). I’m quite sure many bloggers would be delighted to see their review on print, and they would get a small compensation and increased traffic on their blog. Now, a lot of great reviews lay around unattended (or potentially great reviews are never written; with the system I suggest more people would set up blogs and write reviews; I know I would).
A newspaper person would probably react to this idea by pointing out that journalists have access to new records before the release, such that the review can appear on the day of release, or maybe even before. But why does it have to be this way? I’m sure musicians, and other artists for that matter, actually would prefer the review of their work to appear at least after it is available, and if it appears, say, a week after the release date the artist would possibly get media over a longer time span; both at the release and in the later review. On the other hand, I don’t think music buyers care all that much if the review is published after the review. Particularly, if the quality of the reviews were improved, most people would be happy to wait. Also, with better reviews, more people would care and start buying newspapers.
Another tendency I detect when it comes to daily newspapers is the following. They refrain from reviewing a release if a competing newspaper reviews the release before them. This is absurd, particularly when the reviews are so bad that noone cares anyway. If the reviews got better, however, and papers had a much wider selection of reviewers, people would care more and buy more papers. And music lovers are willing to read more than one review of the same record, trust me. Those who are not interested anyway wouldn’t, but why care about them; they don’t buy newspapers because of the music pages anyway. Finally, the system would probably be cheaper for the papers, at least in net, taken higher sales into account.