In addition to teaching music and performing, I’m also a music journalist. As a freelancer I’ve written for SingOut!, Minor7th.com, Curve, Indie-Music.com and others. I don’t do this writing for the big bucks, I do it because I love independent music and want to support it. Don’t ruin that for me by reprinting an edited version of my work. I do my best to be ethical. I expect the same of you.
Recently I found a CD review I wrote posted on the musician’s website. Unfortunately, half of the review was edited out so that it appeared that I loved the CD. In reality, I gave it a mixed review and frankly, that’s only because I was trying hard to find something to like about it.
If you want to quote a line or two, that’s fine but don’t rewrite the whole article. When I quote your lyrics in my review, I don’t rewrite them. You owe me the same courtesy. “Susan Songwriter is the best thing since warm chocolate cake” is okay to use on its own. But don’t take “Her pitch is as off-key as a thousand yowling cats but she sings with conviction” and change it to “… she sings with conviction.” (By the way, I’d never be that cruel in a review. And I happen to think that the best part of a chocolate cake is licking the bowl.)
If a writer or publication finds you – and it’s not hard – they’ll probably ask you to take down the edited review. Honor their wishes. It’s the right thing to do.
I’m only one writer. My word isn’t God and even if I don’t like your work, I respect that others might. It’s art. Some of us like a watercolor landscape that matches the couch and some prefer a bold abstract that’s the center of the room.
As a musician I’ve been misquoted and misunderstood so I know how it feels from that end too. However, when I get a negative or mixed review, I pay attention. If they say my drummer always plays behind the beat, I’m going to listen again. Maybe they’re right. Or maybe it’s just that the writer doesn’t understand jazz improv. At any rate, it’s the writer’s opinion and I respect that. You should too.
Back to the musician mentioned above. I wrote a polite response to her. I never heard back and last I checked that badly edited review was still up there. Maybe that’s why her music could use some big improvements. If you ignore feedback, you’ll never get better as an artist.
I’ll crawl off my soapbox now. It’s time to tune the cats.