Good Quality Music is in the Ear of the Beholder: My thoughts on music critiques and music review services

I’m a curious cat. I’m always curious what causes people to do, feel, or act certain ways. As a singer/songwriter, I also am very curious what people think of my music, from “influencers” out there who are connected to potential opportunities or the people that really matter, the music buying/subscribing/sharing/concert going audience!
That’s why I submitted my first single “Surf with Amigas” off my latest album, Friends with Benefits, to both Fluence.io and Soundout.com to see what both “influencers” and general music listeners thought of the song.

With Fluence, I paid about $20 to get a brief sentence or two from a guy working at partnership development at Pandora and a girl that runs some music blog. The Pandora guy didn’t have much to say but commented that it definitely felt like a fun song with a California vibe and gave it a thumbs up. The chick blogger was straight up and said it wasn’t a bad song, it just wasn’t her kind of music. Both were honest but didn’t give very detailed feedback about all of the components of the song

With Soundout.com, I paid $35 for 125 regular music listeners to provide detailed and sometimes colorful and comedic feedback of all the elements to my song – from the vocals, to the musicianship, production quality, and overall vibe. The service, Slicethepie.com from a music reviewers standpoint, does encourage people to provide feedback and alerts them if they haven’t made comments about certain parts of song components if they don’t mention key words, etc. The regular listeners are also paid to review songs, however at a much lower rate than the “influencers” at Fluence.io. Reviewers get evaluated on their detailed analysis and the better they get at providing meaningful reviews, the more they get paid. Some of the reviewers might get a little burned out if they are listening to random songs non-stop to try and make more money. However, the service does cut them off for the day when their “energy” dies out – or they have listened to a certain number of songs in a row.

I appreciated the detailed feedback I got much more from Soundout vs. Fluence because although not everyone liked the song, I got some interesting ideas on how I might want to target it based on the specific comments that the music listeners provided.

Below are some of the examples of the Soundout reviews that had people with very different perspectives on my Surf with Amigas song, good and bad – as I like to keep it real!

My fave reviews on the mood of my Surf with Amigas song!

music review comments
These are just some of my fave comments about the mood of my song!

Who some of the Soundout reviewers compared me to – I’ll take Jack Johnson 🙂

Singers that sound like Jack Johnson
Other artists people have compared me to!

Apparently I have a music genre identity crisis – but hey, I’m AllJackedup 🙂

JACK radio station format, genre mixing songs, country reggae
I’m All Jacked Up with Genres!

I think my next album is going to be a children’s album, I mean both Jack Johnson and Bob Schneider have them!!

Chidrens music, Jack Johnson's childrens album, Bob Schneider's children's album
My next album with me a children’s album I guess!

These people were not fans of me, my voice, or my music – but at least they spoke clearly with detail about what they did not like!

People who don't like surfing or chill beach music
I get it, not everyone digs my stuff!

Sing about what you love to do!

Sing about what you love to do
If you love what you’re singing about, people can tell!

Overall, my score was in the average range, with all 125 reviews averaged to Soundout’s algorhythmn. The service rates some reviewers higher than others but doesn’t tell you the specific ratings you got from each reviewer. From the graph the service provides, you could tell that there was a clear divide. Either people really loved it or they really hated it, not too much in between.

I know that my music may not be everybody’s cup of tea, I’ve got a quirky sensibility and it’s hard to peg me in any one genre really, therefore my twitter handle name of AllJackedUp!! Some of my music is very niche and only people that love and embrace surfing will connect with it and that is completely fine with me.

I know many artists who just don’t give an eff what anyone thinks of their music. I recently came across this article that alludes to the fact as long as you like it and are proud of it, that’s all that matters. “It’s your music and your creativity, and as long as you’re happy who cares what anyone else thinks – right?”. One of my favorite musicians, Bob Schneider, is definitely that type of musician. He’s all about just writing a ton of songs and ya know, some of them may stink but ya may get some really good ones in the process, it’s all about just getting everything out there and practice! He even invented this song game that he played with his musician friends where everyone had to write a song a day or week and they had to insert a specific word of the day/week to make sure they weren’t planning ahead.

I think I do agree with Bob’s philosophy. Good music is just good music to whoever it pleases. What may be awful music to one person, is completely enjoyable fun and/or inspirational for another, unless it absolutely sucks and is just pure noise. You can’t just sloppily and carelessly put a song together, there are some levels of nuance that should be paid attention to when making a song! The key is just trying to find those that you know will have an appreciation for what you are singing about and the style that you are singing in. So hey all you surfer girls and surfer chicks out there that have a passion for surfing and love surfing with your friends as well as surfer boys, check out my song Surf with Amigas here about that and let me know your thoughts – I DO CARE what you think 🙂 Also, to all the kiddos out there watching Sesame Street that are little surfer groms and grommets in training, you might like the song too!!

3 Responses to Good Quality Music is in the Ear of the Beholder: My thoughts on music critiques and music review services

  1. Hey Jackie!

    It’s great to hear from someone who actually had a positive experience with SoundOut! I’m not sure it’s fair to compare it to Fluence though, especially with a sample size of two listeners. It really depends on your goals, and who you select to do the listening.

    When I critique songs on Fluence, I typically spend 5x the duration of the song providing actionable, musically literate, suggestions. Through my day job I charge $110/hr for the same thing!

    • I agree with you – it definitely depends on your goals. I guess I’m trying to get the opinions of everyday people, as music is really a hobby I enjoy and am not trying to make a living off of it. The “influencer” way is a better way to go for sure if you’re really trying to network your music and get it out there to people that may have opportunities for it.

      I came across this article a couple days ago and I think it speaks to what I’m going for a lot!

      http://crowdly.com/blog/tag/influencer-marketing/page/2/

      A key comment from the article below:

      Many couples are choosing to ditch the wedding photographer for a more authentic approach – crowdsourcing from their invited guests, the people in the world closest to the couple and most involved in their life. Utilizing event hashtags and shared albums, the day can be relived for years to come and still maintain its core feeling. The interactions are authentic because these guests have an investment in the couple – just like Facebook Influencers, the organic great fans who are already engaging with the brand on Facebook. This organic network of Influencers has an attachment to the brand that gives them a unique and important view. Getting them to keep sharing that view is crucial to the growth of the community. Nerf has done exactly that and enjoys 21% retention of these Influencers over a 7-day period. This number is well above the average (7%) for most Facebook brand communities and has given the brand a clear view of their best customers. Rather than settle for the obstructed view of paying for the commitment of professional “Influencers,” Nerf has put its time into the fans that know them best and are enjoying the full picture authentic Facebook Influencers provide.

      I do definitely want to check out AudioKite as well!! The promotional components that come along with a subscription sound really interesting!!

      Thanks for taking a read!

      • I agree that authentic interactions are key to building a fanbase! Still, if you can get a big name influencer to write about you, that will probably generate a lot of authentic interactions. 🙂

        I’m sure you’ll love AudioKite. I dare say I’ve made a few fans there, as well as received some great feedback.

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