Broadly I fit the reviewer profile that M.A. describes, although after eight years I've yet to meet the rest of this alleged cabal. Had I not been a full-time journalist in another field I'd have jumped at the chance of reviewing long before I was forced into early retirement. At least I now have the time to devote to my passion, and in the most congenial conditions, too.
I've always been struck by the breadth of knowledge displayed by MWI reviewers, not to mention their boundless enthusiasm for music. All other considerations aside those two qualities define MWI for me and, I suspect, for many of our readers.
Are we self-important? Perhaps M.A. would elucidate on that. Ditto 'politely bullying'. If by the latter he means strong opinions expressed in forceful writing then that's just good, robust journalism. And if those reviews generate debate and dissent that's even better.
I'm more than happy to defend and discuss my reviews, as I'm sure my colleagues are. In fact I'm surprised that more readers don't use this board for that very purpose. Then again, most people accept that ours are just opinions, hopefully well-informed, and for every negative review published on MWI there will be positive ones elsewhere.
As for being a 'gated community' I'm not sure that's a fair or accurate reflection of who we are and what we do. I have a twiter account, which I use almost exclusively for my reviews and related topics, and I'm heartened by the friendliness and goodwill I've encountered there. As with MWI's contributors my followers are incredibly diverse in their backgrounds, ages and musical tastes.
Being a reviewer is not all sweetness and light though, and I've had run-ins with label CEOs in the past. In one particular instance a very uncomplimentary postscript was appended to one of my reviews for all to see. Hardly the stuff of huddled exclusivity, or of a founder hell-bent on suppressing dissent.
Like everyone else at MWI I enjoy what I do and I try to convey that pleasure in my reviews. If that leads others to reevaluations and - more important - to new discoveries then I'm delighted. Or does that sound self-important?
Admittedly, the unfavourable reviews are much less rewarding, but they are a necessary part of the no-fear-or-favour service we provide. How many other review sites/journals, keen to please their advertisers, can claim true editorial independence?
And finally. The fact that most of the industry is happy to send us hundreds of discs for review each month and then publish the results must be a sign of their confidence and trust. Would they continue to support us if we weren't fulfilling our remit?
Besides, M.A. will surely have noticed that most newspapers and journals now favour very short and unsatisfactory reviews. At MWI you get longer, more thoughtful assessments, often with a number of comparisons thrown in. I'd say that's good value for money, but then MusicWeb is free!
Message Thread | This response ↓
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb