Thursday, November 14, 2013

How To Get The Attention Of A Music Critic

How to get the attention of a music critic?

In lieu of money and booze, talent and a whole lot of luck helps but the problem is critics in general do not actually "listen." Most music writers are concerned with either showing off their alleged technical expertise or in trying to align themselves with that major label artist in hopes of scoring a gig writing liner notes. In the three years that I have been at this there is no middle ground, critics CAN be some of the most ethically challenged people on the planet.

If an artist is spending more time on social media fighting against social injustice than they are attempting to market their brand then they are dead in the water. Do you want to be an activist or an artist? As an artist you can touch the minds and hearts of millions while as an activist you play to a select audience whose myopic tunnel vision is only matched by their inability to scrape up enough cash to buy your record.

Critics are activists by nature. I have had numerous readers tell me that, "I'll never read your work again!" Good...but not believable. Critics are like a NASCAR race, you know a crack up is coming and you keep checking back to see when - even if you do not like them.

Do you ever continue to buy the work of an artist you don't like?

I receive about 300 releases a month and these include downloads with no cover art, no bio, and no real reason to get remotely interested. Did you hand in incomplete homework in school? A well written bio or press release should read like a resume. I don't want your life story but I want enough to inspire me to hit the play button.

Do you have a free artist page on All About Jazz? Are you on Tumblr, Twitter, Google Plus or any of the other social media platforms? What about Amazon, iTunes or even CD Baby? If an artist spent as much time touching on these subjects as they do complaining that no one gives them a chance then they may be getting closer to getting that break they deserve. If you are not visible then you can not be noticed.

Bob Mintzer once told me in relation to his opinion on critics that, "not everything sucks, they all have something to offer."

I disagree. Life is too short to listen to bad music but if you do the proper leg work first then your odds increase dramatically. No one is going to give you the attention you deserve unless you work for it. Goes for critics too.

Music is the artful manipulation of sound to express feelings and emotions. Bill Evans called it a feeling over an intellectual theory. There is no nobility in being a broke ass musician, or critic. Music stopped being art a long time ago.