So are we critics? Are we bloggers, reviewers, writers or some sort of journalistic mutation that much like Rodney Dangerfield, "Can't get no respect...no respect at all?" Musicians claim to have it rough with a plethora of what they consider to be inaccurate tags placed on their craft but when you consider Independent writers in the same fashion as musicians then the inequities of our profession in some cases rival our musical counterparts. Some artists maintain a critic needs to have a Masters Degree in music theory along with a couple of decades of experience on a band stand before our thoughts can have any reasonable level of creativity. This outmoded if not antiquated approach would be the equivalent of saying only Oscar winners can review film. If artists are serious about pushing the music forward then writing the overtly technical review will quickly garner you an audience of professional musicians and that is about it. The passive listener is looking to wade through the theory laden reviews of some main stream writers and get to the heart of what a well formulated description of the work in question might be.
Independent writers and specifically bloggers are essentially divided into two camps. Those that do have some experience on multiple levels in the music industry as do I or...the literary groupie that simply copies a press release so that they can add to their record collection. They lack the creativity to come up with an original thought on their own and essentially pimped out by certain people in an effort to promote a record while never actually stating an opinion on it's artistic merit either pro or con. For those of us that take our craft seriously these second rate groupies do give the majority of us a bad name and in doing so we are forced to work harder and dig deeper to show our true worth not only to the artists in particular but to the industry in general.
Some artists are taking to the blogging platform with mixed results. On one hand you find those simply looking for publicity by pushing the limits of public decency with crude language and a self serving crusade to change the name of jazz to Black American Music. While I personally use the term improvised music we know as jazz, the public relations nightmare that was #BAM stiffed faster than, "Hope And Change." Conversely we have artists such as New York guitarist Larry Corban writing well thought out pieces including the importance of live music.
Labels are for cans of soup and reviews are a shared perspective not a musical subpoena. The reader should be aware of what to look for when considering both. If a blog post looks a bit too generic and the page is littered with RSS feeds from other sites then you are looking at someone with minimal knowledge of the music and less knowledge about the important role that critics can play. A good critic needs to have a little publicist in them and the reader needs to all ways be reminded "Buyer beware!"