Sunday, May 25, 2014

So what’s killing criticism?

What’s killing criticism? The stars…

In a former life, as assistant editor of a formerly respected newspaper, I fought hard and successfully against the blight of applying star ratings to reviews of live performances. My argument was that once readers counted the stars they would not bother to read those reviews. Of all my gloomiest predictions, I fear this one has been most fully validated. When I stepped down, the stars took over.

Today, critics whose columns are unadorned by stars stand a chance of getting read down to the very end. The rest must hope for a scandal or a miracle to secure close attention from a general readership.
That condemnation of star ratings by Norman Lebrecht appears on Slipped Disc today. Above it is his latest review for Sinfini Music. As you can see, he gives the album a four star rating.

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1 comment:

Pliable said...

Comment received from Philip Amos:

Oh, Bob, I am enjoying your pouncing upon Lebrecht's self-contradictions. I not long ago decided, having earlier found a multitude of reasons for putting it off, to read his 'Why Mahler? How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed the World' -- gulp. I am convinced that slogging through the ghastly prose of that exercise in overblown romantic myth-making set my recuperation back at least a week.