Sending your material off for a review or having journalists attending your gig is nerve wrecking stuff. You spend hours, days, weeks of your time pouring your heart and soul into your art, and having a professional opinion writer taking your work to bits could be immensely rewarding, or devastating. However, negative reviews isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s all a learning curve where you can learn from other’s comments about something you’ve been channelling your energy into. Sounds a little ‘out there’ doesn’t it? But, if you change the way you look at it then you can turn that negative right into a positive and use it to your advantage.
Constructive criticism, not demolishing details
So you sent off a bunch of request for reviews, and you’ve got a journalist, blogger or an editor sending you a link. You click it and a review pops up in front of you. As you take your time reading it in full, you realise that they didn’t really like what you do. You feel a bit deflated but STOP! Why should you feel sad? The guys over at that publication has taken some time to give you some feedback on your music, and they listen to a variety of records every single week, so however harsh it might seem, they’re giving an honest opinion from a completely fresh point of view. Honesty is the best policy right? So with this in mind, they’ve been completely straight with you, having no personal connection with you allows brutal honesty, but they’re not writing their reviews to hurt your feelings, but to give people an insight to what your music means to them. It’s completely subject and you’ve got to remember this.
Don’t worry, it’s just an opinion
Some bloggers and writers can be rather blunt with their reviews, especially if they don’t get what you’re trying to do. But, you have to remember that it’s just their opinion. You’re ability to handle criticism will move you to a new level of maturity. If you think they’ve not been fair and professional about their way of handling your record, your reaction to this is paramount. Instead of writing back full of emotion and wanting to fight back, leave it for a bit and come back to it. If you’ve sent it to some small blogs, you can take comfort in knowing that they won’t be seen by a lot of people, and also, you must remember that that particular writer could very well be at the start of their writing career and not learnt how to approach writing reviews of material that’s not to their liking yet.
Did you send it to the right place?
You need to do your research and ensure that your music is being listened to by the right people. There’s no point in sending a dance EP to a blog all about folk music, or heavy metal to a pop website. It’s a royal waste of your time as they’re going to just dismiss it and think you’ve not done your research properly, therefore not actually knowing who the people you’re writing to are, which can be rather insulting for bloggers and publications who put so much of their free time and energy into building up a specific music community.
Another point is that if you send it over, they might not have had many requests that week, or you’ve written a great email and they feel you are worthy of a review. That’s great, you might think, but you’ve sent a hip hop record to an alternative website and the reviewer can’t abide hip hop, therefore not the right person at all to write a review of your music as they’re already in a negative frame of mind due to their dislike to the genre.
Make sure you send your record to websites and blogs that focus on the same or similar genres, as you’ll have a much better chance of getting a review, and positive one at that.
Even celebrities get knocked down
On a daily basis celebrities are getting negative reviews from some sort of publication or other. Some journalists will absolutely adore their latest album, whilst another will loath it. It’s the spice of life, and what makes these celebrities public enemy or heroes is the way they deal with negative reviews and comments, especially when they’re being interviewed live.
So don’t worry, if someone doesn’t like what you’ve done, read it, learn from it and let it go. Don’t dwell on it and let your pride get to you because it’ll quash your creativity and spirit, and we don’t want that at all. Bloggers are entitled to their opinions, especially when you’ve invited them to tell the world what they think of your music. In the same breath, you’re entitled to tell the world why they might be wrong, and if you’re not a fan of the review at all, you can just not tell anyone about it and just tell people about the positive reviews.