We have noticed that some users are doing a lot more song reviewing than others. So, we have changed the algorithm a bit such that users who have written a lot of helpful reviews are given more priority during the “Random Review” song selection. Start reviewing more songs so that your own songs will get reviewed more!
A few weeks ago, I came across SoundOut. It’s a website where independent musicians can upload their songs and get feedback on their music from anonymous users. It’s similar to what we are doing. But SoundOut is a paid service and charges outrageous amount of money for song reviews. It charges $45/song for 125 reviews and $195/song for 250 reviews. Holy crap. These guys are big time crooks. The reviews are blind and they come from users who are paid about $0.05 per review. So basically SoundOut is paying the reviewers 125 x $0.05 = $6.25/song and taking $125 per song from the musicians. I will let you do the math. And I don’t thing making approximately $0.05 per review should be the incentive to provide great feedback on songs. This is crowd sourcing gone awfully wrong. And on top of that, Reverbnation is partnering with SoundOut to provide paid reviews to its users in a new service called “Crowd Review“.
I don’t know what to say. This is a big ripoff and struggling artists who are already broke are paying large amount of cash to get feedback on their music.
We are growing very slowly :-0) but we are excited. We wanted to let you know of some of the features we have added to the site to make song reviewing and critiquing more fun.
First and foremost, users are now able to upvote/downvote ratings. If the song review is descriptive and provides value, users can upvote those ratings. The person who did the rating will gain points and build up their ‘reputation’. And if the review is of low quality, users can downvote those ratings. And the rater will lose ‘reputation’. This concept is very similar to stackoverflow and we think it would be fun to implement the same idea for song reviewing.
A user can build reputation either by uploading songs that are highly rated by others or by writing really good reviews and accumulating points. With high reputation, a user will be able to gain privileges in the site. For example, each vote of a user with high reputation will have a ‘heavier’ vote when they rate others. Thus, they will be able to influence the ratings of a song much more compared to an ordinary user. We are still figuring out other privileges we could provide to those users. Any feedback is appreciated 🙂
There are a few rules we have put in place for upvoting/downvoting.
1. A user cannot downvote a rating of their own song.
If someone writes a review of my song that points out the flaws in the song, I might not like it and downvote that rating. That is not what we want. Therefore, we are not allowing the song owner to downvote any of the ratings however unpleasant they are. Only other users are able to downvote such ratings. The song owner can however upvote the rating to motivate the rater to write good reviews.
2. A user cannot upvote/downvote a rating that has no comment in it.
SInce a rating can only have score and does not need to have a comment, users can only upvote/downvote a rating that has a comment in it.
3. You cannot upvote/downvote your own rating.
This one is pretty common sense. If you are the one who did the rating, you cannot upvote/downvote your own rating.
Some other features we have implemented:
- Song play history. Even anonymous plays are tracked based on IP address location.
- Points accumulated are display on the user’s profile page.
- FAQ page has been updated.
- Users can comment on each rating. Prior to that, you could only write comments on the song page or the profile page.
- Song rating preference. You can select multiple genres and countries to choose the songs from while rating.
- Email alert preference. You will be able to control what kind of email alerts you would like to receive so that we don’t fill up your inbox.
- Privileges on the site based on your reputation.
Please keep checking out the site regularly. We hope to make this site a fun place for musicians who are looking to get feedback on their music and we hope you will make friends along the way.
I have always wondered if song critiquing actually provides any value to the musician to improve their music. I have come to a conclusion that they work if they are done right. There are several scenarios where I feel it does not add any value at all. I used to critique songs in garageband.com back in the days and I never liked how reviews were done in that site.
I would like to go over some of the scenarios that I feel should be avoided while critiquing a song:
1. Reviewer is not a musician.
If the reviewer is not a musician and they have not created any music themselves, they are not in a position to review a song. They might be able to rate the song 4/5 but they might not know enough about songwriting and recording techniques to really give advice. Therefore, these people should not be forced to write “reviews” on the song. Writing reviews should be optional.
2. Reviews are written lazily.
If it’s mandatory to write at least a couple of sentences for each song, the reviewer is forced to write a review even though they don’t really like the song. And the reviewer will lazily write up a review. For this kind of scenario, writing a review should be optional. Usually, if a song grabs your attention, then you naturally want to write at least a couple of sentences on the song.
3. Taste in music is very subjective.
Everybody has a different taste in music. So, there is a chance that you will get a wide variety of reviews on your song. There will be both positive and negative criticism. In this kind of situation, which reviews should you use to improve your music? I think that even though the reviews will vary greatly, there will at least be a few positive criticisms that you can use to make your music better. And you should not take every negative criticism to heart.
4. Some take more than they give back.
Many users create songs and they are anxious to find out what others have to say. So they upload their song and wait for others to rate them. And they never take the time to review others’ music. This is not very good for the community. So, if you are expecting to see detailed reviews on your song, you should start writing detailed reviews yourself.
5. Reviews are not blind.
When I critique a song, I like to only judge the sound I hear and not what I see. I don’t want to know anything about the artist because it will bias my review. I want to be able to close my eyes and write review based on how the music makes me feel inside. So, my critique should solely focus on the music itself and not the music video or the artist bio.
I am an amateur musician myself. I compose and record songs on my computer from time to time and I like to get feedback on my songs from other musicians. These are mostly home recordings. You can checkout some of my songs in my profile page. There used to be a site called garageband.com which does not exist anymore. It was a great site to get valuable feedback from other musicians to improve my songwriting and song mixing skills. There are still many forums out there where musicians can upload their songs for others to review but forums are not scalable to thousands of users. What we need is a dedicated platform to get song critiques from musicians from all over the world.
I am hoping that other musicians like myself will be able to use http://www.tonearena.com to get valuable feedback and reviews from other musicians and I hope you will have fun while doing so. If you have suggestions on improving this site, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you all think? How should music reviews be done?