Has the internet killed music reviews?

Torbay Weekly

“Everyone hears music different, so I don’t understand how music critics have jobs. Whether it’s good or bad, it really baffles me,” said Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Tyler, The Creator on Twitter.

“What if the way I see blue is the way you see yellow?” he added.

Tyler, The Creator is only one of many high-profile artists who deplore the role of music critics.

It’s a war which has been fought since the very beginning of rock music and is almost certainly a sentiment which has only been fuelled by the immediate access to music which we now have, thanks to the internet.

Ian Roberts, veteran of the Torbay music scene, recalls a time when music reviews were essential to the reputation of an artist.

He said: “A good review from great music writers could make or break your career. When Punk Rock swept across the UK in the late 1970s, music critics were so important in spreading the message and furthering the cause. This was a time when the music scene was much less fractionalised, less tribal.

"Rock music was then still a new music genre that unified and codified the ideas and aspirations of Generation X.”

Just because music critics were imperative to artists pre-internet, does this mean that we still need them now?

Social media platforms have given the freedom of opinion and an opportunity for artists to give rebuttals to articles they don’t like, something which didn’t exist before the internet.

Tyler, The Creator does also have a point about the credibility of a ‘music critic’. In an age when anyone with an internet connection can give their opinion and where music is available everywhere at any time, it feels like we could just use our own ears to decide if we like a song or not.

It seems that the role of the music critic isn’t pointless, but has just evolved.

Artists don’t need to rely on a good review for them to make it anymore, but a good critique is far more than an opinion. It can provide context and understanding to art for years to come.