With news that long-running music review site Pitchfork has been folded by media giant Conde Nast, does music criticism still matter?
Music marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, but the goal is to get your music out to a larger audience.
That means promoting your music on social media, optimising your DSPs, chasing radio plays and targeting promos, scheduling digital and print ads, and so much more.
And for a long time, professional music reviews and critical reactions have been a big part of that equation.
Historically, reviews could make or break an album or artist. Which makes sense when you break it down - in a time before the internet, the traditional music press had few competitors, meaning their reviews could be read by millions of people and taken as the gospel truth.
Fast forward to today, and music reviews now have to compete with websites, blogs, social media, DSP playlists and a dozen more digital outlets for eyeballs and attention.
So, how critical are music reviews for artists in 2024?
Considering that Pitchfork, ‘The Most Trusted Voice in Music’, has recently been folded into GQ, the answer is less than ever before.
Despite pulling in millions of engaged readers, which is surely an advertiser’s dream, the much-loved site has cut a number of jobs, including the current editor Puja Patel.
Pitchfork’s demise mirrors much of the other music press, leaving very few dedicated music critics and even fewer platforms.
But, while the music critic’s influence has waned since the pre and early internet age, there is still real value to a good review (and even a bad review if you play your marketing cards right).
Global titles like NME, DJ Mag, Resident Advisor and Rolling Stone still carry a lot of weight and prestige. A strong music marketing campaign will maximise those reviews - just look at the marketing campaigns that still proudly exclaim their 5* reviews and hyperbolic review snippets.
There’s no doubt that music reviews are less important than they used to be - it’s no longer music review platforms that can make or break bands: that power lies with DSP behemoths like Spotify.
But, a well-executed music marketing campaign can still use positive reviews, demonstrating that, despite the evolving media landscape, music criticism still plays a role in shaping the perception and success of artists and their work. We’ve built them into our music marketing plans for our clients, including Damon Albarn, Annie Macmanus, Riz Ahmed and Daniel Avery. And we can do the same for your campaign!
At One Nine Nine, we work with global music and entertainment names, creating and delivering effective digital, marketing and creative strategies to support your ongoing commercial and critical success.
To find out how we can impact your marketing, please get in touch with our team at 01138444111 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.