Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Experiences with ReverbNation Crowd Review and why I won't continue to use it

As any independent musician in the sea of swirling music genres and ever expanding musical competition, I think its safe to safe to say, most artists strive for constructive feedback. It feels great to be complimented, more so even with substance. Knowing someone enjoyed your craft make us all feel good. Constructive criticism makes us look deep and hard at what we are doing with our artistry, it's helpful to know how your are perceived.

Personally I thrive off of feedback... The positive makes me smile and the negative always seems to renew my commitment to my growth as a songwriter and musician. So I was attracted to the offer of Crowd Reviews on the ReverbNation website.

ReverbNation highlights the service as:

"Crowd Reviews - Find Out If Your Music Is Radio-Ready"*

The service current has 3 levels, highlighted in the details below:*
  • Bronze: 20 Reviews - Includes: Track Rating, Word Cloud 
  • Silver: 50 Reviews - Includes: Track Rating, Market Potential, Song Analysis, Word Cloud 
  • Gold: 200 Reviews - Includes: Track Rating, Male vs. Female, Rating Distribution, Age Distribution, Market Potential, Passion Rating, Track Appeal, Similar Artists, Market Potential Within Age, Song Analysis, Word Cloud, Scatter Chart 
*  These details were copied from their site on 8/31/15 - https://www.reverbnation.com/band-promotion/crowd_review

I was sold, seemed like a really great way to curb the need for peer perspective... I got my feet wet at first with the Bronze but found it missing the metrics I wanted. So I proceeded to try the silver package multiple time. I however never did purchase the Gold option and here is why I will not use the service anymore...

From any paid service I expect them not only to deliver on the listed items but I expect a level of professionalism and quality. To be fair, I did receive the numbers of reviews promised but the quality was absolutely appalling. You might think I was nit picking to complain about poor grammar and spelling but hey if you are a writer this is key, I mean a paid service that offers reviews, I expect at minimum the basic writing skills like coherent statements, no fragmented sentences, and yes in the days of spellcheck, it being used. I mean some of the reviews where talking about instruments that were not even part of the song. Made me think, what song are you listening to?

Unfortunately it went deeper then just this...

I am a person again, who has no problem with criticism, I do however have a problem with a service that sells reviews from people who write about personal tastes. I found that approximately a third, if not more, of my reviews were the person talking about what they do or don't personally prefer. Statements like oh this song is country music, I don't like that kind of music. What does that have to do with anything, I ask myself? That is of no value to me, I am not paying for a service to get to know a person, its not a dating site. I am here for non-bias opinions on the offering, I am presenting for review. Is my song radio ready? Are the drums in time? Song in key? Lyrics engaging? Technical attributes that determine if this is quality production of music, radio ready.

This is what is largely missing from the service, making me view it as very unprofessional and very limited value. Most of the writers seem extremely junior with a lack of ability to articulate and provide substance for a worthy review.

After using this service over 10 times and contacting ReverbNation about my concerns. I saw no change or improvement and never even received a response. It has lead me to formulate the opinion, that with the short amount of delivery time promised, they are not concerned about quality control or monitoring professionalism of their writers. It's more about turn and burn, I mean would you keep eating at a place that is consistently under cooking your food, time after time, cause they're too busy? I think not! I also am of the opinion, that they do not do any type of matching genre to writer. Which means the writers need to put aside personal taste and dig into, what are the facts they see in the item they are reviewing. In my experiences they have failed here too.

Now how can this lack of true critique and unprofessional writing really tell you if the song is "Radio-Ready"? My thought is... It can not!

As an independent musician, funds are always tight, so value is key, to what I choose to spend resources on. In this case, I am not seeing it and would rate this service as a 4 out of 10 on a scale with 10 being Excellent.

Hope this was helpful to any and all you music makers out there. Leave your thoughts and comments as you see fit and give the music a spin at: http://jburnmusic.com

Cheers, Jay Burn