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Do Music Reviews Matter in 2023?

Do Music Reviews Matter in 2023

It has been over five years since the last issue of the NME hit the shelves in March 2018. In those bitter-sweet five years, the music industry has undergone rapid and unprecedented change; with that in mind, we will answer the question; do music reviews matter in 2023?

A critical acclaim consensus may not be able to make or break an artist in the same way it used to when journalists were revered as iconic golden-eared tastemakers in the music industry. Even with swathes of 5-star album of the year accolades from the likes of the Guardian and the Times, there is no guarantee that there will be a high demand for your gig tickets and digital music.

On the flip side, when journos and critics have very few positive things to say about a new release or a live performance from a well-established artist with a die-hard fanbase, negative reviews will have a minimal impact as the fans play a bigger role. Take Nick Cave & Tom Waits for the perfect example; neither of them has had massive commercial hits, but each has a dedicated fanbase ensuring their legacies and discographies became a perpetuating part of music history.

Do Music Reviews Matter in 2023

Social media has changed the game for many musicians. No longer do they have to rely on magazines and zines to communicate what their art is all about. Similarly, in this era, everyone can voice an opinion online, and even though most journos would disagree with this statement, no one’s subjective view is more important than anyone else’s.

With that said, in 2023, positive reviews still matter, especially for independent artists looking to make their mark in their respective scenes and build those fanbases.

Typically, the more trusted, revered and admired the journalist and publication is, the more worth is attached to their words. However, it would be naïve of new artists to think they can secure reviews from household name publications right off the bat. It isn’t impossible, especially with the right PR team and backing, but more often than not, major publications only feature established artists.

There is no shame in working from the ground up by getting featured by indie websites and blogs first. Their reach may not be as wide, but the connections you make can put you in good stead with valuable other figures in a scene, and the soundbites you can pull from the features are great for bolstering your reputation, proving to promoters that there is an appetite for your music, and for your future press releases. Many independent artists also tend to slather positive soundbites, which capture the essence of their music, across their social media bios, streaming platforms, and websites. In short, the more of a presence you have online, the better your chances of standing out from the rest of the crowd that is oversaturated with artists, all looking to get ahead.

In Conclusion

So, to succinctly answer the titular question, in our modern and often warped era, critics and journos are only really valuable if they spend their time flying the flag for artists who may have otherwise slipped under the radar.

Never judge the popularity of a blog or a website on the number of likes, comments, and shares they get on social media. The times may have changed, but many blogs still maintain loyal readerships, consisting of music fans who are keen to listen to some new music and explore new talent. It can be hard to see the true ripple effect of reviews, but if you trust in the process and continue to spread the word and boost your signal by submitting music to magazines and blogs, it will be time well-spent. Of course, you will need to ensure that you are submitting to the right blogs and have a perfect pitch to stand a chance at seducing writers into hitting play on your music.

Submit your Music for Review with A&R Factory

If you have a new release that you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into and want it in front of industry figures and music fans alike, submit your music to A&R Factory.

We are always open to submissions from artists of all genres, and as a top 10 UK blog, you can share your A&R Factory review with pride.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

A&R Factory Has Launched a New Bespoke Interview Submission Service for Independent Artists

After the success of our lockdown interview sessions, the editorial team at A&R Factory have launched a new interview submission service for independent musicians looking to solidify their brand, build credibility in the industry and find fans within their niche.

Whether you want to discuss the concept of your new album, be interviewed on your motivations as an artist or give fans a chance to get to know you before you head off on tour, our platform is the place to do it. Unlike other artist interview services, we are open to interview requests from musicians and bands regardless of genre and location.

Instead of offering a set of generic questions, our artist interview features embrace the autonomy of the artists using our service. Take, for example, the recently published interview for the UK alt-metal duo, Glytsh, who used our platform to discuss how they intended on making their future gigs more LGBTQ+ inclusive.

How Artist Interviews Can Raise Your Profile and Engage Your Audience

Music reviews, playlisting and radio play are all great ways to boost your profile as an independent artist, and, of course, each of them has its own merit. However, when it comes to engaging with your fanbase on a deeper and more interpersonal level, artist interviews are one of the best tools you can put in your music promotion arsenal.

The one commonality between all music scenes is that fans are the driving force behind them. Impressing listeners with your music and lyrics is your first port of call, but that is easier said than done for many independent bands and musicians on a budget in an increasingly oversaturated music industry. Interviews are a great way to capture your target audience and increase interest with music fans who align with your morals and outlook as a musician.

Interviews Generate Engaging & Shareable Content

Sharing interviews on your social media pages is a great way to fill your social media content calendar and remain on your fans’ radar – which is a proven way for artists to cumulate growth in their respective scenes. There is no wrong time for artists to engage their fans by sharing an online interview. But this form of press works best when you’re generating hype leading up to a major milestone in your music careers, such as the launch of a new album, EP, single, tour or merch drop. Interviews may be daunting for artists who are new to them, but they are still a great publicity opportunity for artists who want their fans to get to know them on a deeper level.

Interviews Can Widen Your Fanbase

By requesting interviews from music blogs with high readerships, such as A&R Factory, independent artists get the chance to expand their reach and find new listeners who are looking for new artists that they can connect to on a personal and moral level. Even though there is a number of people who are firm believers that you should always separate the art from the artist, for the majority, it is important to know who is behind the music that they are listening to. Even if you think that your music and lyrics speak for themselves, one interview could make the difference between a casual and a die-hard fan.

Interviews Help to Boost Credibility

While there are many music fans out there who love to discover music before anyone else, there will always be music fans that only jump on trends and only give new artists a chance when it appears that they already have a sizable following. Getting your band covered by a reputable music site is a surefire way to boost your credibility and reputation in the industry. Beyond sharing the interviews across social media and linking the interview on your website, you can also mention artist interviews in your future press releases, playlist submissions and review submissions.

Soundbites from Interviews Can Lead to Viral Success

With the ever-waning attention spans of music fans, a single pithy soundbite in an interview can be all that it takes to take a band or artist’s renown up a notch. Speaking in soundbites may not be a natural ability for every artist out there. But by perfecting the art of conveying a message in a short and witty one-liner that articulates your brand and ethos, you will create a quotable statement that you can share across media platforms.

Interviews Are a Great Way to Plug Your New Merch & Music

In a time when consumer confidence is incredibly low, it is natural for artists to feel uncomfortable plugging their merch and physical music sales on social media sites. However, band interviews are one of the best domains to do this in. After you’ve covered your preferred talking points, you will get an opportunity to plug your new merch lines, vinyl records and gig tickets.

To request an interview from the A&R Factory editorial team, fill out our interview submission form, and let us know what you want the focus of the interview piece to be, including details of anything that you would like to be promoted in the interview.

Once submitted, you will receive a set of unique interview questions on a focus of your choosing, and your interview will be published within 7 – 14 days. The interview will feature on our multi-award-winning blog and across all of our social media channels that are followed by key industry figures and music fans alike.

Article by Amelia Vandergast