Ed Sheeran says music critics are unnecessary and he’s right

By MediaMonkey

March 30, 2023

Ed Sheeran’s got an album coming out soon, which means a lot of people will be writing a lot of commentaries and reviews. But Ed has shared what he thinks of critics, and he’s not on their side: “Why do you need to read a review? Listen to it. It’s freely available!” he told Rolling Stone. “Make up your own mind. I would never read an album review and go, ‘I’m not gonna listen to that now.’”

He is, of course, one hundred per cent right. It an age where you can essentially stream anything you want for free, there is simply no point to reading a critic because you can do the only thing that will ever tell you if something is good for you: listen to it yourself.

Back when the only way to access music was to pray a radio station would play a single track, or pay for a whole album, music reviewers helped you decide how to spend your money. Now, you can try before you buy. You can give it five minutes, or thirty, or a whole LP, and see what you think. Music is not objective. There is no objective reviewing. There is no right or wrong. Everyone likes a subtly different combination of things and the chance of finding a reviewer who has the same vibes as you is rare. But you don’t need to, you just need to play it and see if it hits you.

Ironically, the freedoms offered by the internet have produced more music critics, just as they’ve removed the need for then. There’s an entire content creating genre of moaning about music, when really no one should care.

What music consumers need isn’t reviews, it’s being made aware of a song’s existence so you can listen to it. No one needs five hundred words on what some random thinks of an album, they need a quick ‘hey, this album is out, give it a listen.

The exception is, of course, live reviews. As an ever smaller number of ticket vendors are charging ever more extortionate prices, it is helpful to know if the band you’re going to have to give a kidney to see are all studio or cut it live. But that’s it.

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