Someone once told me that to negatively critique a song is like telling a mother her newborn baby is ugly. Every mother thinks her baby is cute and every artist thinks his or her latest song has (massive) unrealized potential.
Over the last year, my favorite posts on Music Think Tank were my shortest. I learned a lot, and your answers helped shape the products I worked on. The comments on the following posts were great.
Do most fans really want anything from you other than your music?
Do great songs really ever go unheard?
Now, I’m going back to the well. Music Xray is about a launch a social-network-like music submission and review utility. The application does four things:
- It enables music industry professionals to earn a bit of revenue through the music submission and review process.
- It enables song owners to get legitimate feedback quickly and inexpensively via an environment where they can review the reviewers.
- It exposes songs (in some cases) to the people that can connect songs to exposure opportunities.
- It gives Music Xray the best way to get a ton of songs professionally tagged, which will help to make all the songs in our system easier to find.
Here’s the challenge: What’s the right way to review music?
We are enabling optional free-form comments. However, we are also providing an interface where reviewers can quickly select any number of canned (point and click) reviews. The canned reviews will enable the reviewers to move quickly and (most importantly) it will give Music Xray the ability to show artists all the songs that have generated similar reviews.
I have obtained conflicting advice on the types of reviews that artists want and expect. The system will accommodate all different types of reviewers (A&R backgrounds, radio backgrounds, producers, other artists, etc). Everyone probably has a different way that they review and critique music?
We just started passing around the list below. Something seems to be completely missing from this list? I’m not sure what it is. Can you help me complete this product? If you want to email me, send an email to bruce(use the at sign)musicxray.com.
Critique Mix and Production
Production/mix is too thin
Production/mix is too full
Lead vocals too loud
Lead vocals too quiet
Backing vocals to loud
Backing vocals too quiet
Lead instrument(s) is (are) too loud
Lead instrument(s) is (are) too quiet
Dislike lead instrument effects
Drums too loud
Drums too quiet
Bass too loud
Bass too quiet
Keyboards/piano too loud
Keyboards/piano too quiet
Other instrumentation is too loud
Other instrumentation is too quiet
Overall performance needs improvement
Lead vocal needs improvement
Try a more appropriate key
Backing vocals need improvement
Lead guitar needs improvement
Instrument solo needs improvement
Percussion needs improvement
Beat is top heavy
Bass needs improvement
Keyboards / piano needs work
Horns need work
Strings need work
Chorus melody not compelling
Chorus melody too repetitive / basic
Chorus doesn’t resolve / resolves poorly
Verse melody not compelling
Verse melody too repetitive / basic
Verse doesn’t resolve / resolves poorly
Bridge melody not compelling
Bridge melody too repetitive / basic
Bridge doesn’t resolve / resolves poorly
Middle eight need works
Overall tune does not stay with me
Lyrics need work
Lyrics aren’t compelling
Compliment Mix and Production
Excellent mix & production. I wouldn’t change a thing
Production is unprofessional
Generally good mix and production
Good ideas in the mix and production
Chorus melody very compelling
Verse melody very compelling
Bridge melody very compelling
Middle eight is compelling
Overall tune stays with me
Lyrics are compelling
Lyrics are poetic
Lyrics are insightful
Excellent lead vocals
Excellent backing vocals
Excellent lead guitar
Excellent instrument solo
Good lead vocals
Good backing vocals
Good lead guitar
Good instrument solo