6 ways to impress music critics and to grow your fan base

So, you’ve made a song, an album, or even just a live show. What’s next?

Well, you look at the reception your work has received. You might look at social media, post a survey, ask a professional or, if you’re lucky, have struck gold with a popular critical review.

What does a music critic actually do?

In short, a music critic reviews music that is of popular demand from their audience. In order for them to be successful, it’s stressed that they remain objective and factual when speaking of people’s hard work and passion.

This can definitely be a hit or a miss. On the one hand, receiving a positive review will turn a lot more heads then a negative one. However receiving a negative review could result in readers jumping on the bandwagon of hate.

Either way, you will receive more recognition and more fans. But I think we all want a positive review, right?

How to receive a music review?

There are two ways of turning the heads of reviewers. You may purposely be trying to reach out to them through press releases and cold emails, or some might just stumble upon a few reviews while their music is doing well.

Here are just a few ways to grab their attention:

  • YouTube- Keeping consistent with your content will allow your sub count to eventually grow substantially, meaning, your music will be popping up on reviewers’ radars.
  • Live shows — Plenty of media sites talk about live shows, bringing more and more fans, and also critics.
  • Local reviewers — Going local gives you an advantage over competitors. You’re from where they’re from, they will be happy to talk about you.
  • PR- To do a great press release, it takes some skill. However building relationships with relevant journalists is ultimately a great way for you to reach your end goal.

Reasons for getting a music review?

Rather than just listing swear words to describe them (Like here), I’m going to prove to you how valuable it is to get them on your side.

Getting a critical review means that:

  • You’ll be given feedback from a professional
  • Fans will gain much more interest
  • A positive one means that they’ll keep updated for your future releases
  • Can lead to various connections with other artists, journalists, playlist curators, and influencers.
  • You’ll gain more website traffic.

Granted, music is subjective, so don’t expect to have all of them to jump on the bandwagon of loving your music.

1. There’s no room for error

Let’s just get the obvious one out the way, shall we?

Music reviewers listen, that’s their job. The problem is, they’re pretty good at it, so if there’s one little technical error, or one broken chord, a lot of your credibility will be lost.

They expect professionalism, they want to hear music from serious artists, and silly errors like mispronounced words or badly recorded vocals are going to change their perception of you for the rest of the listening experience.

Related article:

6 useful tips to make a banger album

2. Be a perfectionist

The huge music critics often have extremely high standards for the music that they hear. Because think about it, they’re hearing the most high budget albums every day, they want something that’s either on par with them or better.

Be as detailed as you possibly can, if there’s something you think you want to add to the project that might make it sound better, do it, you never know how it’ll sound unless you hear it for yourself.

3. Quality background stories

Have you ever noticed that listening to an album without any context of the wheres, whys, and whens of the recording makes it a lot less entertaining?

I’ve recently realised this, which goes to show that our love for music goes beyond sound, in a way, we enjoy music partially because of the branding behind it.

Don’t give them a boring and bland listening experience, show them some interesting motives behind your project, release your hidden meanings, answer their questions as they ask them in their heads.

Related article:

How the 7Ps of marketing can be used by musicians

4. Upstage your previous efforts

Reviewers don’t just listen to your music, they need context. They want to know your influencers, your industry friends and, more importantly, your other content.

This is because they need a benchmark, they need something to compare your project with, otherwise how would they gauge what’s good and what’s bad.

You have probably done this already, but if you’ve released what we call ‘a flop’ in the past, show critics that you’ve really bucked your ideas up. Force them to congratulate you for your drastic improvements.

5. Who’s going to review you?

I would never argue that an artists main audience should be a music critic, because that isn’t fun. However I would say that if you’re hoping to receive a review from a group of journalists, look at their past work.

Who have they reviewed before?

What have they liked & disliked about them?

How could they improve?

Learn how the journalists in your genre approach music and how critical they are. Really give them what they really want, they would really love it if you ticket all of their boxes.

6. Do something unusual, but clever

Again, this is completely dependent on the reviewers you’re targeting. Some may not want something crazy on a track. But as it’s their job to listen to music every single day, they kinda like it when there’s something there that’ll get them out of their seats.

Think of it writing your CV. Your teachers and parents always say that employers read thousands of CV’s every day, you gotta make yours stand out.

How is it different with reviewers?

They love music just as much as the rest of us, so do something that ignites your own passion for music, and they just might love it as well.

Related article:

5 unique ways to make an attention grabbing album

Summary

All in all, we’ve established the importance of getting a review written, as it could shift you in a better career direction.

But always remember that your project has to be of quality, and do some research on critics in your genre because they have so much experience in gauging the quality of music objectively.

Thank you very much for reading!!

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