I appreciate that I am in a rather privileged position as a music reviewer. I get sent albums before they are out; I get to go to gigs and take photos and generally have a good time for next to nothing. I get to meet and talk to some of the people that have made some of the most exciting music I’ve ever heard. Being a reviewer certainly has its perks.
The one thing I cannot stand however is being sent things to review via stream. It totally gets on my fucking tits. I can’t be bothered to sit in front of my laptop, listening to things on tinny headphones, or throwing signals to various devices, or listening to them on a phone, or whatever it is people do these days. I mean, I’m not exactly a fan of CDs or MP3 players, but at least they are portable. Streaming stuff feels like an appalling chore that requires me to be in one place constantly to listen to an album, and at the end of it, there’s nothing to show for it, other than a review that has been created out of nothing but brain power. There’s very little in the way of reward for writing these days, and though I’d like to say I do it for the love, that’d be a lie, or a slight untruth. Obviously I write about music because I love writing about music, and I love music but sometimes it is nice to be rewarded for the effort. There’s no promo CDs or vinyls these days, not a lot in the way of cash (if anything at all), just a bunch of downloadable MP3s and an occasional guest list. When there’s not even a copy of the album as reward for engaging my critical faculties then frankly I’m not that bothered thanks.
Even worse are the albums that you get a set amount of time and a set amount of chances to listen to. For instance, your ability to stream a record might stretch to five attempts and you’ve got three days in which to listen to this prized asset. Well thanks a lot. So, lets see how these five sittings go shall we?
- Attempt to figure out whether it’s possible to break the source code. It isn’t. And I’d never do such a thing.
- Lost internet connection. Fuck.
- Interrupted by a phone call. Vaguely figure out there might be an in depth concept at work here. Probably wrong. Consider purchasing time share option from cold caller.
- Actually listen to album in full. It’s a bit shit, but that might be because of the situation you now find yourself in. Fuck.
- “These songs are no longer available”
So there you go, that’s the downside of reviewing. There’s plenty of upside too. I get to hear new and exciting music all the time (and some utter shit too) and for that I’m thankful. If I’m required to engage my brain however, it’d be nice if it was worth the effort.