Who goes to iTunes for a review?

Do you? Really?

Recently reading Paul Bradshaw‘s blog about how the internet has changed journalism in what he thinks is a negative way, left me asking lots of questions.

He argues that technology has reduced the cost of newsgathering, and that publishing is ‘as easy as a phonecall’. Quite right he is, until you begin to question the quality of what is produced. If something is published from a non reputable source, and instantly like you can get on the internet you could argue it was published as a spur of the moment. Putting together a newspaper takes time and money as we know, and at least with a paper you know its been researched for purpose, unlike the rise of citizen journalism. So yes production costs are reduced, but anyone who still wants to read quality news would be going somewhere to get it where it’s ‘newsgather-er’ gets paid.

Stating that specialist types of journalism, and in focus here reviews, are losing value I think is a bold statement to make. We all know Amazon offers book reviews and that you can find out how good the new Sting album is from iTunes, but you can’t expect quality. Anyone and everyone can update and comment on sites like these – so how correct can they be? Not to mention that the writer generally has no skill in the art of reviews. I’d take Paul into the ring on this one on the basis that the majority of people would go to reputable places for this kind of information.


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One Response to Who goes to iTunes for a review?

  1. raiconf says:

    Take me into the ring then! 😉 The problem with your last paragraph is the idea of someone being “correct” in a review. A review is not a statement of fact, but one of opinion. So just because someone is paid does not make their review “correct”. Even in pre-web music publishing I can remember reading particular reviewers in the music press because I knew that I shared their tastes, and not reading others because, well, I didn’t. That had nothing to do with them being correct – or even them being paid – it was about taste.

    In some ways I miss the days of buying music based on the opinion of, in most cases, one person (I’m not talking here about the kind of music that gets reviewed in the broadsheets). The ability to listen to music up front, and to be recommended music based on hundreds of other people you’ve never met but who buy the same things as you, takes away much of the mystery and surprise of music buying. But I’m old, and I have to accept I’m not going to be the first person to spot a Great Band any more.

    Anyway, my point in that post was a) not a negative one (as you say in the intro) and b) not a generalisation about the quality or need for good music journalism. My point was that it has been devalued – that is, that the economic value of it has decreased. Or put another way: the supply and demand of music journalism has changed: there is more supply, but not an equal increase in demand. So the amount that publishers are prepared to pay – or the numbers of staff they employ – is going to be less.

    Sadly, this is the case for many parts of journalism as a whole. Wages are low, and even to earn those people often have to work for free for long periods of time. The trick, of course, is to look at areas of journalism where supply is lower and demand higher, such as financial journalism, B2B magazines, data journalism, community management, SEO and multimedia.

    But you’re right on one thing: who goes to iTunes for a review?

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