Review Tutorial and Tips (cont'd)

Continued from the DO INDIE MUSIC REVIEWS  page.


Ok.  Here's our instructions and tips on what to do with the ARS.

1.  Pick the genre in which you want to review from the drop-down menu.
2.  Pick the round you want to review in (if multiple rounds are available)
3.  Click "GO"

4.  You will arrive in the review form, at which there will be two flash players, Song 1 and Song 2. It doesn't matter which song you listen to first, only that you listen to both songs for at least 30 seconds each. If you listen to less than 30 seconds of either song, your review will fail by default. Do yourself and the band a favor though, please listen to the song in it's entirety. Remember, you are helping to determine the global chart position of 2 indie songs. It's a huge responsibility that even the president of the USA doesn't have to deal with, unless of course, he/she signs up for an Audiopolis account. You have infinite power. Use it wisely.

*We suggest you listen to one song at a time and answer the questions immediately after or during your listen. You can always change your answers prior to submitting your review if you choose. The same goes for the text critique. We suggest you wrap your head around one song at a time. Still, if you choose to be a rebel and jump around between songs, that's your choice. Please, just be sure which song you are answering questions for , and most importantly, which song you like the most and to what degree.

5.  Song preference. Between the two songs, you have four choices. Choose wisely, as this is the most important ranking the songs will receive. If you choose song 1 as a big winner, that's a huge victory for song 1 and a large defeat for song 2. Vice versa if you pick song 2 as the big winner. Simply picking song 1 as "winner" ensures that song wins the majority of points scored but doesn't make song 2 such a big loser. That's the way to go if it's hard to decide which song you like better. Somebody has to win but it has far less negative impact on the losing song.

6.  Questions and ratings. Time to tick boxes. You're good at this. It's just a mouse click. Although we hope you'll judge each song independently, it can happen that you might rate both songs pretty much the same. That's ok. Just be honest.

A.  The first 5 questions are standard for all songs sitewide.  You must rank the song on a scale of 1 to 4 with 1 being the lowest grade and 4 being the maximum "hell yeah!" you can give.

Songwriting - a pretty wide open territory for you to judge how you see fit.  In reality, it's what you think of everything about the song itself - aside from the performance and production. If the song touched you in some way, if it meant something special to you musically or lyrically or both - judge it accordingly.

Originality - Does it sound fresh and different?  Does it have something about it that makes you think you've heard it before but it sort of seems like it's a new and improved version of what you think you know?  These go into the mix on this question.  Originality doesn't have to be the next best thing since they (who are *they* anyway) invented the napkin.  It just has to make you feel like the song is unique.  It could be something completely wild and different, or, it can be a marked improvement on something you think you've heard before.  It's an objective question.  Do your best and keep an open mind.

Musicianship - DUH.  Rate the instrumental performance and the singing (if applicable) on a 1 to 4 scale.  You don't have to know anything about music theory or fingerpicking to answer this one - just how good you think the band plays and sings.

Emotional Impact - How'd it make you feel? Did it move you in some way emotionally? It might be heart-breaking, it might be angst and anger. It could be happy bunny hugs or it might be isolation and thought-provokingly sad. If it touched you large, big score. If it didn't, or if it bored you, low scores. Not exactly heavy lifting, is it?

 Production - How did the song sound sonically? Was it easy to listen to? Did it sound like what you'd expect to hear from a big-budget studio or did it sound like something recorded on a cheap computer? Did it require you to adjust your volume, bass, treble or EQ, or did you forget about all that 'cus it sounded good? Maybe somewhere in between? We're just talking about the SOUND here, not how well it was played nor whether or not you even liked the song - only if it stood up as being a song that sounded like it was recorded, mixed and delivered by somebody who knew what the hell they were doing.

There, those are the standard "fixed" questions. 

B.  Now on to rating specific aspects of the song or performance that the musicians want you to judge.

There are nearly two dozen specific questions available for musicians to throw at you, but generally you'll probably be asked about the big 5 -- drums, bass, vocals, guitars and lead guitars. Of course, there'll be plenty of exceptions to that rule and the questions will range from other lead solo instruments to hook memorability to groove and a whole lot in between.

The ratings are based on a 1 to 4 scale, with 1 being the lowest rating available and 4 being the best you can give. The important thing for you, the reviewer, to be concerned with is to be as honest as you can be in your scoring. Reward generously if you feel compelled and rate a question low if you think the band needs a lot of work to make that particular instrument or aspect truly great.

Almost there ....

7.  The mandatory text critique (or review if that's what you wanna call it) is the next and last thing on your review form. For some, it's the best part of the process and for others it might be a laborious process. Go with it - let it flow.

This is all subjective.  It will be different for everyone and that's okay.

There are plenty of things you can talk about that will help the band understand something about how their song was received by you. You can write about any/all of the aspects of the song on which you have already scored the band in the tick boxes, or you can explain how the song made you feel and/or why. You can write about anything regarding the song you want to, in plain and concise terms or in flowery and entertaining ways. You can joke or you can be very business-like. The important thing is to make sure you make it clear to the band that you actually listened to their music and you do give a damn.

Of course, although we encourage colorful reviews, we will draw the line at abuse and senseless vulgarity, racism, overt sexual harrassment and so on and so forth. Use the Audiopolis TOS as your guideline. It's absolutely all right to tell the band that they should not quit their day jobs or that you've heard better music from your grandma's bathroom just before she does the courtesy flush, BUT karma is a powerful thing and if you deliver brutality simply for the sake of brutality without adding constructive criticism, very bad voodoo might be headed your way. We will monitor reviews and we will field complaints from bands regarding this sort of thing. We here at Audiopolis are very tolerant and open-minded when it comes to opinions, but if we find that you are just being a knobhead and a belligerant piece of dung, we'll freeze your bank account, torture your sister's cat and fill your refrigerator with bull testicles and turnip wine (or juice if you're under age).

Be real. No band wants to simply receive "you're great! you guys ROCK!" reviews. Unless of course, they actually are great and they do ROCK. Save the false praise for your aunt when she gives you cheap perfume for your birthday or for when your girlfriend makes you watery tasteless lasagna. Excessive false praise is frowned upon as much as ludicrous bullying.   

That's about it. Go on back and do an Audiopolis Review Pair ... enjoy yourself. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. We're glad you're here.