You’ve heard it a hundred times: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
But five or six years ago, it seemed like a bad review on Pitchfork, the popular music news website, could really damage your career. I heard horror stories of bands being kicked off opening tour slots, losing out on being signed right before inking a deal, and, well, just kinda throwing in the towel — all because of one bad review.
I’ve heard fewer of these stories lately. In fact, plenty of successful bands are getting crapped on by Pitchfork every month. Mumford & Sons received a 2.1 (out of 10) for 2010’s Sigh No More. The Head and the Heart’s self-titled debut got a 3.8, and fellow pursuing beard-folk purveyors like the Civil Wars and the Lumineers have been ignored entirely.
Whether you think those scores are well-deserved or completely miss the mark is besides the point. (Hey, maybe Pitchfork just don’t dig on sepia-tinged sensitivity!) What I’m curious about here is — do bad reviews matter?
To be fair, Pitchfork DOES what it does very well. They’ve got their tastes, their audience, their thang. So let’s substitute any niche outlet for Pitchfork — JazzTimes, BrooklynVegan, No Depression, HipHop DX.
Does your average music fan care what they have to say? Does anybody besides people in the industry read ’em? Are hearts and minds won or lost based on one high-profile review? Has your music career been boosted or burst by a few cruel or kind words?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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[Picture of guy in the corner with a dunce-cap from Shutterstock.]