About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Why Bad Reviews Can Be Good For An Artist
Monday, March 12, 2012

No artist likes to receive a bad review, but in the internet age bad reviews aren’t necessarily bad things. Many times a negative review of an artist’s album has led me to actually seek out the album. Sometimes it’s because the reviewer compared the artist to another artist and in their mind it was something unfavorable, but in my mind it made the artist someone I’d like to check out. Other times it’s because I refuse to believe anything can be quite as bad as an entirely negative review makes it sound. When it comes to negative reviews of albums by artists I like, those reviews only work to make me an even bigger fan of the artist. The reason for this is threefold.

* A negative review causes me, as even a casual fan, to mentally go through all the reasons I like the artist.

* A negative review causes me to speak my opinion as to why I disagree with the review.

* By reminding me of the reason why I like the artist, and causing me to speak my opinion about said artist, a negative review leads to me strengthening my argument in support of the artist.

So what has that negative review actually accomplished? It has made me feel an even closer affiliation with the artist in question, and made my reasoning for why I like them even more concrete. Forget “he said, she said,” after reading a negative review I can, better than ever, accurately voice why I think a particular artist’s work is good. Where that opinion is voiced is also important.

One distinct advantage to negative reviews that are online is the comments section most websites have. I’ve seen all out wars between people in those comment sections and, more of often than not, the people in support of the artist outnumber those who dislike them. Not only that, the arguments in favor the artist usually end up far more well voiced for the reasons already mentioned, while the negative ones are either solely superficial, or wander in their focus.

Wandering in focus is also a problem many negative reviews have. This is because a good percentage of negative reviews are poorly written. The reviewer, rather than attempting to break down the music of the album, takes it upon his, or her, self to lambast the artist for everything under the sun. This kind of negative review does nothing to explain why the reviewer doesn’t like the album, it just shows they don’t like the artist. It’s the exact kind of thing that makes an artist’s fan base leave a ton of comments.

In an ironic twist, comments from fans in support of an artist end up much more relevant than the actual review, giving the review the complete opposite effect the reviewer hoped it would have.

The moral of the story is something I’ve been preaching for quite a few years - if you really dislike an album, don’t review it, because not only is the phrase "no press is bad press" true in that any kind of press is good, it's also true in that getting no press is the worst kind of press of all.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:27 AM  
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