Things have changed for writers over the past decade or so. It used to be that if you wanted to write a professional music review, you had to submit a clip or the full article itself to some form of print media, then wait several weeks just to find out if it was approved. But not anymore.
In today’s digital age, if you want to know how to write song reviews, all you have to do is start your own blog and get busy. It’s really that easy.
However, before you run off to join the growing ranks of online critics, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Follow the 7 steps below to begin your writing success.
Step 1: Write Your Album Review Introduction
Generally speaking, to write an album review, it tends to be less “catchy” and more straight-shooting, so unless you’re wanting to use the article as a feature, you don’t need to focus on being overly creative with your introduction.
A simple opening that lets readers know what you will be reviewing will flow much more naturally and professionally than a colorful thesaurus-driven prologue. Keep it short and to the point, then move on.
Step 2: Keep Your Song Review Honest, Not Rude
There is a trend in writing song reviews that many seem to follow. It’s called the Jaded Music Reviewer technique. No matter what CD this person punches into his or her CD player, it will get a bad review.
The Jaded Music Reviewer believes he sounds more professional when he puts others down, and, granted, he does receive a lot of responses (usually from fired up fans).
But if you really want to make an impression, find something nice to say. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be truthful about bad notes or awkward chord choices, but try to keep the focus on how the music sounds, not how you sound while writing about it.
Step 3: Compare Songs and Other Singers in Your Review
When you are writing a CD review, especially when it’s performed by a new singer or band, try to add some comparisons with others singers. This tells readers two things.
- One, if someone hasn’t heard the music yet themselves, a comparison will give them an idea of what to expect.
- And, two, it’s a subtle way to show that you know your stuff.
For singers who have been around a little longer, you can compare the new album with older releases instead. This isn’t a required step, but it can add a professional touch to the article. It can also help to rev your writing back up if you should stall.
Step 4: Give Honorable Mentions When You Write Reviews
For every music review you write, there are some things (people) you should always mention.
If you’re reviewing the album before the release date, be sure to mention when others will be able to buy it themselves. If it is already on store shelves, tell when it was released anyway, for those who are reading at a later date.
Mention who wrote the songs, especially if it was the artist or a band member. If there is a guest singer or musician on the recording, give his or her name with a brief one- or two-line bio.
And last but not least, mention the record company. Record labels are the money behind the music, so be sure to include their name somewhere in the article.
Step 5: Add Some Background to Your CD Review
You are writing a review, not a biography, so a long, detailed report of past successes isn’t necessary. However, if you’d like to add more depth to the article, including a little background toward the end of the article can do the trick.
Any awards received or special foundations supported, this would be the place to add it.
Step 6: Proof Read and Edit Your Review
If you really want the review to be taken seriously, proper grammar and spelling are a must. As you read over your work, pay particular attention to:
- Punctuation. A well placed comma can go a long way, but five consecutive exclamation points shout amateur!!!!!
- Too much slang. If “yo dawg, check out ‘dis new disc” has a place, it isn’t here.
- Basic capitalization rules. “i am a writer” translates to “I am not a writer” when you don’t capitalize the “i.”
- Spelling. Typos are one thing; “recieve” and “definately” are something else.
Step 7: Post and Promote Your Music Review
Your last step is an easy one. Depending on where you will be publishing your music review, you are ready to get it out there. You can post the review on a blog or submit it to a magazine / e-zine, then start spreading the word.
Promote it on social bookmarking sites, on forums (when it applies), Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and don’t forget to email your friends and family. If you will be publishing your review on your own website, sign up with Google Adsense or a similar ad-generating program, and you can earn revenue from it as well.
One of the great things about learning how to write music reviews is that they don’t have to be very long. An average of 400 words, give or take, is plenty.
Stick with it long enough, and you’ll be whipping them out with little effort at all.
Get Paid to Review Songs
Want to get paid while you practice writing song reviews?
Visit Slicethepie.com to “scout” for new music by unsigned artists and make money while you are doing it. The more songs you review, the more you can make.
“You can earn more by submitting lengthy reviews in well-written English,” it says on their website. “The better your review, the bigger the bonus payment. We are encouraging scouts to leave detailed reviews and will reward them for their time / effort!”
It’s great practice and the pay adds up when you provide well thought-out reviews.