Be a Supporter!

Lets talk about audio reviews

  • 987 Views
  • 24 Replies
New Topic Respond to this Topic
SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-27 02:10:20 Reply

Some questions and discussion for stimulating audio reviews!

What are some suggestions you all have for leaving audio reviews? Do you have any goal of reviewing audio portal submissions in a certain time frame, or do you review a song that particularly strikes a chord in you? Would you prefer to leave a detailed review talking about the technical aspect of the song, or a rant or rave based on how well the song appeals to you?

There are so many daily audio submissions to the portal on a fairly frequent basis, and so few get any attention. What would make you want to review a song? It's hard for some artists to remember that people that review songs don't dedicate all of their time to scouting the audio portal, and of course a few songs are going to be skipped over. What advice do you have for these people?

I decided to look at my submissions for 2010, and noticed that songs that had 1k~2K views had two pages of reviews, while a song that had close to 500 reviews had one ~ four reviews. It was hard to get a good grasp on what people really liked out of a song that made swarms of listeners come to, but after 7 years submitting audio to the portal, I have a better grasp of do and do not's to get reviews.

I wanted to offer some help and tips , and lather up some discussion on improving the feedback of our loved portal. A lot of this is aimed at the absolute newbie who has little (or no) experience in music creation and production. (I'm looking at you, SonicJ of 2006.) This isn't sorted in any particular order, and may be non- sequitur. Still, you can skim what I feel is worth a read of checking the underlined and bold headings. A lot of the stuff starts out or ends with a tangent, but not all information will be Tl:dr for you. I feel we can express and teach in methods that don't need to be textbook standard. I tried to make this friendly and conversational like.

Here are my tips on getting more reviews :
Don't submit every audio file you have ever made. (Songs, loops, and etc included.)
I know when I first started out uploading my loops to the Internet, I was very trigger happy. I wasn't too skilled with fl studio, and every time I improved in the smallest increment I decided that the entirety of Ng had to hear it. In 2006 a lot of people were tolerant to hearing my loops that contained fl studio's default samples and left positive reviews and constructive criticism to help me improve. From then to now, the field has changed a considerable amount.

Fl studio being a very popular DAW for veterans and new comers alike, has caused many listeners to hear and become exposed to almost every default sample, synths, patterns, loops, presets, you name it. While many are accustomed to hearing the samples, an aspiring artist sees this as a huge learning treasure trove of fun ways to mix sounds. Aspiring artist, don't be discouraged! Frolic around and enjoy everything the program has to offer! Mess around with knobs and sliders to you hearts content, and play "we have a 138 in progress" until you drop! When it comes to uploading your song for views and critique however, don't expect raving reviews.

What I'm getting at here, is to pace yourself. Start learning about your tools, where your strengths and weakness are, and where you want to improve. When you feel like you're ready for some direction and critique, by all means upload your creation to the audio portal! There are plenty of highly talented artists here who love seeing aspiring talent and will tend to you in the forum of constructive criticism. Make sure you actually take their words into consideration, and don't say to yourself "Gee golly, 3 reviews and 46 views! This formula must be working, allow me to make another song and upload it asap!"

And please, for the love of.. don't be one of those people who say "I just uploaded this garbage just because.. it sucks and I hate it . Meh". I don't feel too many people sympathize with self-loathers. If you don't care about your own work, why should someone else take their time to? This ultimately ends up cluttering up the audio portal as neither you, nor any listener that stumbled onto the song felt it was worth diddly. If you keep this up, listeners will see a pattern emerge, and eventually start to avoid your future works.

When directly requesting reviews, be specific ; add some detail

The audio portal has many great threads for gathering talent and promoting audio, be it music loops and tracks, or vocal only submissions. Here is one such great thread, Audio Advertisements!
This thread was created in 2005 by a user named "Tancrisism". Do you see what is so cool about that? A user decided "Hey, lets make a thread where we can try to get some additional exposure to our songs. This wasn't a mod, admin, or staff of Newgrounds. Accident or not, this was a user that thought this up and ultimately made a great contribution to the NG audio portal. 814 pages and 24,398 replies later, this thread still goes on strong and is pretty much the linked to thread when someone asks "where can I display my music?"

So, history aside, when you get to this thread (or anywhere you ask for and need views) please don't be general about your request. What kind of feedback do you want? Do you want help? Do you want to know how much people enjoy your song? Making your goal clear helps to garner reviews from a specific audience of reviewers. I might float to genres that I don't listen to if you ask for help on EQing, mastering, anything like that. Just saying "what do you think?" does not make me want to stop what I'm doing to listen to, and ultimately review your song. When it comes to this thread, there is a new post every few hours, and a new page or two every day. You might get lost in the shuffle as the thread isn't monitored around the clock by people on review stand by.

On the adding of detail, I really enjoy when an artist adds some detail into their adverting post. As of today, there are 814 pages and counting of the previously mentioned Audio advertisement thread. A lot of people visit the thread, drop the URL to their recently uploaded song, and walk away. Don't do that. From time to time I take a gamble on these and give the song a listen. I feel I'm rather gratuitous, but I won't make a habit of listening to 24 songs posted in two days that fit this criteria. What really makes an advertisement stand out? Content. You want people to listen to your song, you need to convince them of why! If you fleshed out the details of this song the same way you created the song it's self, you will give the impression that you worked hard on the final product. The people that view the A.A thread are not robots, and take a few things into consideration when they peruse the days offerings. They will not see a url and click it just because. Give them something to read as to why they should be the listener of the song on the other side of the url! What did you do differently? Did you use some new VST(i's)? Are you trying out a new DAW, genre, or equipment? What's going on here that anyone should listen? While the A.A thread is not a contest, you are competing for viewership. Eventually people reviewing get tired or fatigued and will stop listening to music. What happens when that one person stopped at the song just above your post? They may not come back to the same page to continue where they left off.

They may however, make the exception when they see your really cool description! So spice things up some more. You'll realize from beginning to end, a single song is a very involved project. Don't cut corners anywhere, including advertising.

I nearly exhausted my remaining characters for this post so I'll give you my most important tip in post #2


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-27 02:12:02 Reply

My final, most important tip for getting reviews:

I realized I left a large wall of text up there. If you didn't pay any mind to it, your loss. I'm trying to help. If you made it this far, or skimmed through, I need you to pay attention to one key point here. Ready for it? Review-other-songs. Yes, that's right. You're probably asking "SonicJ, how does reviewing other songs translate to views on my submissions?". Realize and understand that the Audio Portal is more than a place to merely upload your song and act as your distribution platform. The Audio Portal is a community, and wholly depends on your contribution. I couldn't fathom how so many artist had a low submission to review ratio. I have witnessed some people have 30+ songs, and zero (0) reviews. When this is done, it's asking for something and returning nothing. How exactly does this lack of contribution help? It doesn't!

When you do get reviews, reply to them.

I'm guilty of this myself, but as I mentioned at the top, I'm talking to my 2006 self. Writing this was self-reflection before it became critising the community. With the new project manager system, you can now see when the last review was left on which ever song in chronological order. That means if someone reviewed one of the 70 uploads you had in 2009, you now can't miss it (unless of course you're getting an average of 26 reviews a day. In that case, why are you reading this guide?!). People who review music will often check back to see if the author replied. When a couple of weeks go by, and there is no reply, the reviewer often feels like the artist didn't appreciate the review. Say thank you, and don't be cookie cutter about it. Let the person know you appreciated him or her taking the time to giving your song a few extra moments to leave a review. They, in turn, will feel like it's worth continuing the endeavor of letting artist know how well they did, or how much they enjoyed listening. Remember the Audio Portal is only one of many music sources for todays listener.

Don't discount the number of views you received.

Sometimes it's easy to get discouraged when you see 10 people viewed your song in the last hour. Don't be! Imagine each unique person was walking on the street you just performed on. That's still 10 more people than a lot of artist had exposure to! Try to imagine each person as the unique individual they are, and appreciate what the person may have to offer. You never know if they are walking around saying "You know, I heard this really great artist on this website call Newgrounds, why not have a listen?". After all, a lot of viral videos on youtube get by on "did you see this crazy ... ". When you look at the statistics for a youtube video, the feed back could be 25 percent of the viewer ship. You will often run into videos that have 1,000,000 views, but only 200,500 comments. The more the viewer has to do to leave feedback, the less likely they might be to do it.(*) That doesn't mean they won't talk about it. Respect your viewer, and don't antagonize them. "WHY THE HELL AREN'T YOU PEOPLE LEAVING REVIEWS??" May not be a great way to attract reviewers.

Wrap it up
My write up is meant to help you get more reviews, but also to really step out and be a member of the community. There are plenty of new faces each day, but a declining number of people willing to offer feedback for them all. * We can help offset that, and really rise the quality Audio Portal feed back. Thanks for reading, and your time.

Regards,
SonicJ.

* I don't have hard statistics for this statement, but going off of observation, this is what I gather.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
Zafrece
Zafrece
  • Member since: Jul. 3, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 12
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-27 03:58:53 Reply

Darn your mountain of useful information. I have to agree with most of the points here. Mostly reviewing others audio and not submitting things like wild fire.
I personally love giving "wall o text" style reviews on peoples songs, not only a single song but i like to go through at least the last 5 submissions or so and leave reviews in as great detail as i can. I feel that reviews are really what make newgrounds unique in its community. You can go to other sites and place a song or picture up and get nothing but "good", or " nice". I feel comfortable saying that the main reason i myself have improved since i started here would be the detailed reviews left by a select few. Heres the problem however, there doesn't need to be just a select few people leaving detailed reviews, (cough Music-Story) It really should be any one that can take the time to do so. I agree that it's hard to tell what people like and don't like, it's a hunt and peck for the most part. Not to mention you're left not knowing what needs to be done for others to like your music or general works. If you listen to a song leave a review, it's as simple as that.

(Tangent warning)-Reviews are more powerful than people give them credit for. When i came onto this site i really had no idea what mixing was, or hertz or even how to work vst's or what they were to be honest. I not only didn't know about any of that, but since i lacked knowing that i didn't know, i really had no way to learn it. It took some one who i'm going to call out for a second "silta" to set me straight, and turned me on to several vsts and things i had no idea even existed. This isn't youtube or 4chan. People read reviews and learn from them. If you know something that the person is doing wrong, or even like something they did, TELL THE PERSON. You never know what a simple review can do for some one.

I am glad you left this "wall o text", and i hope in some way stays up on the forums for a while. This is a powerful post sir and hats off to you for leaving it.

SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 08:19:22 Reply

At 1/27/13 03:58 AM, Zafrece wrote: (Tangent warning)-Reviews are more powerful than people give them credit for. When i came onto this site i really had no idea what mixing was, or hertz or even how to work vst's or what they were to be honest. I not only didn't know about any of that, but since i lacked knowing that i didn't know, i really had no way to learn it. It took some one who i'm going to call out for a second "silta" to set me straight, and turned me on to several vsts and things i had no idea even existed.

I am glad you left this "wall o text", and i hope in some way stays up on the forums for a while. This is a powerful post sir and hats off to you for leaving it.

Well, thank you! I only prefer giving "wall-o-text" reviews for songs. I don't feel content with submitting a "good song, 5/5" review and leaving it at that. A review needs to have some level of depth and purpose. Even if you can't contribute anything technical or specific, did the song make you feel good? Did you have a laugh at the samples used? Are you planning on using this, uploading it to your mp3 player? There is too much that could be said on a Audio Portal review.

Maybe we could work on a Audio portal review criteria? What constitutes as minimum requirements for a decent audio portal review; common guide-lines for leaving a review.

A suggestion for frequency of leaving audio reviews:
If you're unsure of how often to leave a review, a really tiny rule of thumb could help: When you upload a song, that same day review another song. For every minute the length of your song is, leave that many reviews. A 3 minute song means you leave 3 reviews on songs in the audio portal. Recently uploaded wouldn't be a bad place to check, as well as the Audio Advertisement thread.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
KatMaestro
KatMaestro
  • Member since: Dec. 9, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Supporter
Level 10
Blank Slate
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 08:41:42 Reply

Didn't I see these threads too often?

StaticBlu
StaticBlu
  • Member since: Jan. 1, 2013
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 08:55:26 Reply

Lots of good info here. I posted in the audio advertisement thread a few days ago and did everything you mentioned not to do and now I feel like an idiot. But at least I learned from it.

I try to review a few songs a day from different people I see around or if the track just strikes me as interesting. I don't know if being scouted or not changes some users outlooks on the reviewer's opinion, but I figure that anyone who wants to improve will take any good advice regardless of the source. I feel like you shouldn't expect a review if you can't give one in return.

When I first came on Newgrounds I thought that it was swarming with feedback but I guess I was wrong. Hopefully as part of the community we can change that tremendously.

SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 09:41:52 Reply

At 1/28/13 08:55 AM, StaticBlu wrote: Lots of good info here. I posted in the audio advertisement thread a few days ago and did everything you mentioned not to do and now I feel like an idiot. But at least I learned from it.

I try to review a few songs a day from different people I see around or if the track just strikes me as interesting. I don't know if being scouted or not changes some users outlooks on the reviewer's opinion, but I figure that anyone who wants to improve will take any good advice regardless of the source. I feel like you shouldn't expect a review if you can't give one in return.

When I first came on Newgrounds I thought that it was swarming with feedback but I guess I was wrong. Hopefully as part of the community we can change that tremendously.

I'm glad I helped! It's good that you put in the effort to review other artist songs when you can, as that does make a difference! I don't believe an artist should divide his source of reviews between scouted and scouted artists. Both can leave equally helpful technical advise, as well as words of encouragement! Being here is a learning experience, one step at a time. As long as you're willing to try different ideas, you always have room to grow!

Now, on the issue of Newgrounds and Audio portal feedback, this is the core issue we are trying to solve. As I mentioned in the write-up, reviews were abundant years ago. Those same people moved on, while new people joined and assumed the reviewing eco-system remained the same. People uploaded music, and did not review music. It just went down-hill from there. We can change that in a week, if every single person who uploaded a song today left a review on other songs in the latest submissions portal. If this happened every day, you would see a huge change in the reviewing process.

What else changed, from then to now? Exactly what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. When I first started uploading music here, the latest submissions column was monitored by other people who recently submitted audio. While they were watching their own submission, they gave input on other songs because the artist happened to already be there. It was a "mini-reviewing eco-system" ( I really needed an excuse to use that phrase again) and it worked well. I just took a look at the new and revised audio portal. The first thing you see is the "brand spanking new" box. NG has rearranged the Audio portal so that recently upload tracks are the first thing you see. I narrowed down the uploads to only show today, and only show approved artists. I looked at a track that was uploaded earlier in the day, and then clicked another that was much more recently uploaded.

A theoretical situation:

18 songs in the uploaded today category. Zero out of 18 songs had a review. Some artists might think there is simply not enough traffic to garner reviews. False. One detail that might go unnoticed : None of those artists who recently uploaded music went out of their way to leave reviews on other recently submitted songs. Since those 18 songs had no reviews, it's safe to assume none of the recently uploaded artists reviewed a recently uploaded song. Lets do some simple math here:

18 artists upload 1 song each. Divide the amount of artist evenly and you have 2 groups of 9 artists that could "shake hands" and get to know each other a little better. To break it down easier, you have 9 groups of 2 artists. Imagine each group of two artists left reviews for each others recently uploaded song. You now have 18 reviews in the audio portal. Now imagine if each of the 18 artists reviewed 3 songs that were recently uploaded.
18 * 3 = 54! Oh my word! 54 reviews were just spread among 18 songs!

That was a hypothetical scenario , yet showed a very positive potential to aggregate 54 reviews in less than a few hours. In our current reality artists will upload a song and walk away from their computer and expect reviews to be on their songs within a few days.

One of many solutions:

Borrowing from the previous point, 54 reviews are a lot of reviews and shows much feedback growth in a very short time frame. More math for a moment: if there were 18 songs uploaded once a day for 5 days, and artist contributed 3 reviews for that day, you have 270 reviews in a business week.
That number would grow to unwieldy proportions if the community as a whole adopted a "3 reviews a day" method.

As you can see from this evidence, the Newgrounds audio portal has huge potential to become the hive-mind review honey-comb we once were. All it requires is some effort from the community as a whole.

Someone needs to pull the cart, we all can't sit for a ride.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
zelazon
zelazon
  • Member since: Oct. 2, 2008
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 11:13:04 Reply

I under stand the premise that you're trying to present to us, to suggest for people to get anonymous reviews should leave random reviews so go out there and start leaving reviews on random songs themselves.

However, from what I witnessed in the past, it really hasn't worked that way; I've went out after creating a song and left nearly 25 reviews on songs I hear that day, and in the end, got only three reviews on that specific song. It's not only that the reviews were so few, but also that they lacked substance as well.

The best reviews, I think, come from those who have the most experience with cohesive reviews, and some of the most critical reviews I received came from those I had to pm to review my work. I wouldn't spam those reviewers (unless you have listeners who constantly are reviewing your work) as that tends to dissuade a lot of the audience you once had. All in all, I think it's about how active you are in the community to get people to listen to your work, and the more you get to know the best reviewers, the better chance you'll have at getting better reviews.

la-yinn
la-yinn
  • Member since: Nov. 17, 2005
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 23
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 11:15:12 Reply

I can say it's nice to read about yet another person having a 'truly caring' mentality, but it's not gonna work.

There are other sites, mostly niche, but with the same audio system as NG where anybody can upload and review etc. A lot of these require you to actually go out and review in order to gain any form of publicity and I think that's the sort of thing you're shooting for here.

It doesn't work. It won't work.

Or well yes, they do work. For the people who would go out and review by themselves either way. Those sites have a LOT less overall traffic. You see, all it does is making somebody work for a bit of appreciation or publicity, but they don't have the same inspirational/constructice role they have when somebody reviews BECAUSE THEY APPRECIATE LOOKING INTO NEW MUSIC.

You can't force somebody to do something they wouldn't normally do AND have them enjoy themselves doing so. You'll get a shitload of underinspired reviews saying: "It's pretty ok, lower the 60hz a bit and make the kick bouncier or smth"

Really, those are not the reviews you had in mind when you wrote that load of text.

If people WANT to say something, there's the option to. Full, unprovoked opinions are what you're after, trust me. Building an input/output system around it will just suck the life out of the last few remaining people that don't really give a shit about whether or not their reviewing will get them something.

If you disagree: hook up your soundcloud to cloudkillers. It's pretty much the perfect embodiment of that concept. And yes, 300 two-word comments can make your soundcloud look fancy. As for the inspirational/constructive shit, it's not as effective.

I can guarantee you, however, if you review on NG 'just cause' that you'll often be positively surprised. Happened to me numerous times.


Latest tracks:
Sub Marines
Chemosound

Ectohelix
Ectohelix
  • Member since: Jul. 30, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 01
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-28 14:32:10 Reply

There are no perks for reviews, not even virtually like rank, etc. No incentives for people to go out of their way.


Find me on: Facebook, Twitter, or Soundcloud.

SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-01-29 12:46:18 Reply

Thanks for the replies guys. I like to be as thorough as possible with my replies, but I'll keep this short. The purpose of this write up was varied. The intent was not to simply get people writing robotic reviews, but to answer the commonly asked question and the commonly made statement : "Why does my song have no reviews?". I wanted to bring a mirror to many of the Newgrounds Artists who don't yet understand that their contributions to feedback are just as necessary as anyone else's.

It is necessary to bring attention to the fact that Newgrounds does not have an invisible army of Review first responders. At the same time I did not want it to seem that reviewer needed to force himself to write x amount of reviews in any time span just because. We all agree that the greatest reviews are the ones from the heart, where the listener really felt compelled to say what was on his or her mind to do so. That does not mean if you can't find a song that makes you feel this way that a generic review is required at all. What I have been doing with my last round of reviews was staying to one genre. I listened and walked my way around the ambient section, because that's what I really wanted to hear. I avoided other genres and that allowed me to maintain a boundary of where and what I was listening to, what I was listening for, which helped me write reviews I wanted to keep fleshed out. The songs that really reached out and grabbed me were the ones that I choose to leave my reviews on, and I kept a limit to how many reviews I planned on writing.

zelazon, la-yinn thanks for the time you took to read and respond to what I wrote, it's appreciated. Like I mentioned earlier, we all agree we would rather heartfelt, and as you guys put it "unprovoked and cohesive opinions". Reviews as a whole don't tip on either side of a single scale though. We have more to choose from than between a great meaning full review, and a generic "cool". I feel that there is so much that could be said about a song, yet the ability to do so isn't tapped into.

Now Ectohelix, there is only some truth to that statement. Some people don't view leaving feedback as something to go out of their way for. However, it's not a total loss to think we could suggest some sort of reward for leaving legitimate feedback in the audio portal.

I saved the best for last: welshassassin, a user who left a total of 412 audio portal reviews over a span of 4 years. She has no uploaded material in any section, Audio portal, Flash portal, or Art portal. There was not, and still isn't a direct reward for leaving so many reviews in the portal.
What was her purpose in leaving so many reviews? We may never know, but I felt that her intent and purpose was genuine and authentic. I would say reviewing is all about your mind set. Perhaps welshassassin had the thought process "Hey, I'll just try to contribute to artists with low views to keep them going!" in stark contrast to people who won't leave some quick feed back because of the lack of reward.

This is just my opinion here, but perhaps one the reasons the Newgrounds staff won't implement rewards for reviewing audio is because of the potential for abuse if this rewards program was un-moderated. Who knows, maybe we could suggest having additional NG volunteers that could over watch this project? I feel the idea could work if it was sent to the drawing board for a few hours.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
la-yinn
la-yinn
  • Member since: Nov. 17, 2005
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 23
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-01 10:40:51 Reply

At 1/29/13 12:46 PM, SonicJ wrote:
I saved the best for last: welshassassin, a user who left a total of 412 audio portal reviews over a span of 4 years. She has no uploaded material in any section, Audio portal, Flash portal, or Art portal.

thanks for sharing this, that is heartwarming stuff indeed


Latest tracks:
Sub Marines
Chemosound

SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 09:15:33 Reply

At 2/1/13 10:40 AM, la-yinn wrote:
At 1/29/13 12:46 PM, SonicJ wrote:
I saved the best for last: welshassassin, a user who left a total of 412 audio portal reviews over a span of 4 years. She has no uploaded material in any section, Audio portal, Flash portal, or Art portal.
thanks for sharing this, that is heartwarming stuff indeed

I'm glad it moved you.

I now realize a thread like this pops up ever so often, and people are fatigued of discussing low audio portal traffic. I'm re-iterating that I wanted to bring something new to the table : suggestions. Lots of people have questions, few put ideas into effect. Sometimes an easy answer is right in front of us, and we don't think to put it into use. I can't say this endeavor was a loss to any degree. At least some people benefited from this write up, including those who didn't know how to advertise themselves within the portal.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
MDEmergency
MDEmergency
  • Member since: Jan. 31, 2013
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 01
Blank Slate
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 10:36:50 Reply

To be honest, I mainly use NG just for improvement, like I'm doing a "Weekly Bars" to improve on my Hip-Hop, so the "don't post every increment of audio" suggestion would be a great thing to discuss further for me. Especially seeing as how, I really only use Newgrounds to hang out and improve, personally, not post my perfect music and advertise on.

Draewa
Draewa
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Blank Slate
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 11:21:46 Reply

I entered this thread expecting another poor soul ranting about not getting any reviews, but out of absolutely nowhere this epic wall of text appeared! Thanks, OP.

I guess I'm guilty of not reviewing enough tracks from the portal myself, but to be honest, leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator; Some examples taken from my own tracks:
"this part feels like jumping around from building to building to me, pretty intense though, i like it."
"very smooth, makes me drift off into my own thought, well done"
"A lot going on here. Nice work. You know it actually reminds me of the Halo soundtracks in some weird way I can't place"

I could use reviews like those to pat myself on the back and feel better about my lack of practise, but they don't help me to improve any aspect of my productions. While I appreciate someone taking the time to tell me that he/she enjoyed my track, I get little to none information about what he/she enjoyed about it, which parts were highlights, what has room for improvements etc. etc. It's kinda obvious that reviews of this sort have not been written by people with much musical experience, or that the reviewer (is that a word?) just left a review out of courtesy.

Another problem are people reviewing music from genres they are not familiar with. I'm producing Orchestral, Softcore Electro and Ambiance, and I'm just not comfortable with criticising anything that's not that kind of music; I have no basis on which to analyse a Black Metal track, and I won't even attempt it. But for some reason, many musicians/listeners insist on reviewing portal entries that have nothing to do with their field of expertise. And that's how reviews like this come to be, I guess:
"I really like this, it sounds kind of nostalgic, the composition style's really cool"
"Classic VGM stuff, the melody is great, but it might be a bit loud. I love the progression."
"really nice with all the strings, still love the main synth arpeggiated melody, its really really good, nice work bro"

It should be stated that all of those three have been written by musicians, in this case a Hip-Hop producer and someone who's doing Glitchstep. Here's a review of the same track, written by someone with experience in the same genre:
"Great intro! The synth blends well with the percussion which creates a notion of suspense that quickly builds throughout the song. I absolutely love the mixing of the strings along with the electronic elements, it is nothing short of fantastic. Also, when you combine the smooth pad with this effect and start layering everything it sounds excellent. The odd droning pad/synth that you added a little later in the song was a little bit off of the mark in my opinion, but that's just my taste so don't pay too much attention to that remark. The voices you used at the end of the song were placed well and it adds a calming effect after all of that suspense the music amps up."
Much better. Eventhough the guy who wrote this missed some rather big problems that track had, it's much more insightful and helps me to further improve my arranging skill.

And then there's the blatant asskissing often observed on popular tracks. If you ask me, people who are using the feedback system to blurt out things like "Best.Remix.Ever.", "PERFECTION!!11" or "damn it why is this song so addicting" should be punched in the face. It's okay to cheer for an artist you like, but the feedback section of this portal is not the right place for that.

SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 14:38:19 Reply

At 2/5/13 10:36 AM, MDEmergency wrote: To be honest, I mainly use NG just for improvement, like I'm doing a "Weekly Bars" to improve on my Hip-Hop, so the "don't post every increment of audio" suggestion would be a great thing to discuss further for me. Especially seeing as how, I really only use Newgrounds to hang out and improve, personally, not post my perfect music and advertise on.

This brings up an excellent point. Your method sounds solid on it's own! However, this write-up is meant for newer , less defined artists who wanted solid feed back on their projects. If you are doing a weekly project, that's a good pace, I wouldn't imagine needing to do it any less frequently. Keeping in mind that you mentioned you posted to improve your music, though, this may still be applicable to you if you desire good feed back.

The applicable situation
I suppose to paraphrase what I already mentioned up in the opening post, the statement about users uploading too many tracks goes like follows: If you aren't yet believing that you have great quality music or loops, upload as few of your audio files as possible. If you work on 5 loops in one week, select your best loop and upload that. If the five loops don't have any distinguishing properties from one another, and are all roughly the same as far as quality, you're going to be hard pressed to find different feed back for each loop. A listener only has so much capacity to hear music or loops for the day, weather they are solely reviewing, or just listening. Among many budding artists, a single reviewer may not want to spread herself thin over all of a single artists works.

What I'm getting at here, is to pace yourself. Start learning about your tools, where your strengths and weakness are, and where you want to improve. When you feel like you're ready for some direction and critique, by all means upload your creation to the audio portal! There are plenty of highly talented artists here who love seeing aspiring talent and will tend to you in the forum of constructive criticism. Make sure you actually take their words into consideration, and don't say to yourself "Gee golly, 3 reviews and 46 views! This formula must be working, allow me to make another song and upload it asap!"

Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 14:51:33 Reply

At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Draewa wrote: I entered this thread expecting another poor soul ranting about not getting any reviews, but out of absolutely nowhere this epic wall of text appeared! Thanks, OP.

Oh no, thank you!

I guess I'm guilty of not reviewing enough tracks from the portal myself, but to be honest, leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator;

We all have to start from step number one. You're right in saying many users are not qualified to leave clear detailed audio reviews. Although many reviewers less than desirable feedback, they are still leaving feedback. Knowing that someone enjoyed a song enough to type some words about it may be all a inverted artist needs. Is a review out of curiosity bad? Now, there are many elements of a review that, over time, a reviewer gets to know. "What am I doing objectively?" "How through can I be with this review?" Some times a reviewer knows no elements of a review other than to say "thanks for making this!" To roll to the point, reviewers have the potential to grow at the task of reviewing in the same vain that artists have the potential to compose better music.


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
StaticBlu
StaticBlu
  • Member since: Jan. 1, 2013
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 15:22:19 Reply

At 2/5/13 02:51 PM, SonicJ wrote:
At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Draewa wrote: I entered this thread expecting another poor soul ranting about not getting any reviews, but out of absolutely nowhere this epic wall of text appeared! Thanks, OP.
Oh no, thank you!

I guess I'm guilty of not reviewing enough tracks from the portal myself, but to be honest, leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator;
We all have to start from step number one. You're right in saying many users are not qualified to leave clear detailed audio reviews. Although many reviewers less than desirable feedback, they are still leaving feedback. Knowing that someone enjoyed a song enough to type some words about it may be all a inverted artist needs. Is a review out of curiosity bad? Now, there are many elements of a review that, over time, a reviewer gets to know. "What am I doing objectively?" "How through can I be with this review?" Some times a reviewer knows no elements of a review other than to say "thanks for making this!" To roll to the point, reviewers have the potential to grow at the task of reviewing in the same vain that artists have the potential to compose better music.

I agree fully. We forget that even though we desire well detailed feedback that we can't forget one of the most important parts of making music: Appeal. Anyone can help with that because no matter who's listening, they are your audience. Even if it's not their type of music, if done right, would appeal to them in some way and that could help you tremendously in finding out what people prefer, respond to, and most importantly, what it is about the musician's style that people can appeal to.

We all want to get better feedback for better compositional elements, but sometimes a response is better than none at all.

Draewa
Draewa
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Blank Slate
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 15:27:33 Reply

At 2/5/13 02:51 PM, SonicJ wrote:
At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Draewa wrote: I entered this thread expecting another poor soul ranting about not getting any reviews, but out of absolutely nowhere this epic wall of text appeared! Thanks, OP.
Oh no, thank you!

I guess I'm guilty of not reviewing enough tracks from the portal myself, but to be honest, leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator;
We all have to start from step number one. You're right in saying many users are not qualified to leave clear detailed audio reviews. Although many reviewers less than desirable feedback, they are still leaving feedback. Knowing that someone enjoyed a song enough to type some words about it may be all a inverted artist needs. Is a review out of curiosity bad? Now, there are many elements of a review that, over time, a reviewer gets to know. "What am I doing objectively?" "How through can I be with this review?" Some times a reviewer knows no elements of a review other than to say "thanks for making this!" To roll to the point, reviewers have the potential to grow at the task of reviewing in the same vain that artists have the potential to compose better music.

Yes, giving feedback is definitely something that can (and should) be trained, in fact I remember that we once attended a two-day workshop on criticism back when I went to school. The thing that bothers me with Newgrounds (and pretty much every musician community) though is that many people, instead of learning how to present clear and valuable reviews, adapt bad habits like leaving half-assed reviews out of courtesy (I think you misread that as curiosity before).
If you've ever been on a Soundcloud thread on 4chan's /mu/, where artists of all genres share and review their content, you'll have seen that guy A leaves feedback on guy B's track and that guy B, in turn, leaves a review on guy A's content just to be polite, eventhough he has nothing constructive, encouraging or interesting to say about guy A's track.
I don't know, maybe it's just a personal thing of mine, but I always feel bad when I see that another artist is clearly struggling to say something nice about my content. I'd rather have him say "Your tracks are not my genre / not my taste of music" if he has nothing to criticise.

Draewa
Draewa
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Blank Slate
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 15:38:59 Reply

At 2/5/13 03:22 PM, StaticBlu wrote:
At 2/5/13 02:51 PM, SonicJ wrote:
At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Draewa wrote: I entered this thread expecting another poor soul ranting about not getting any reviews, but out of absolutely nowhere this epic wall of text appeared! Thanks, OP.
Oh no, thank you!

I guess I'm guilty of not reviewing enough tracks from the portal myself, but to be honest, leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator;
We all have to start from step number one. You're right in saying many users are not qualified to leave clear detailed audio reviews. Although many reviewers less than desirable feedback, they are still leaving feedback. Knowing that someone enjoyed a song enough to type some words about it may be all a inverted artist needs. Is a review out of curiosity bad? Now, there are many elements of a review that, over time, a reviewer gets to know. "What am I doing objectively?" "How through can I be with this review?" Some times a reviewer knows no elements of a review other than to say "thanks for making this!" To roll to the point, reviewers have the potential to grow at the task of reviewing in the same vain that artists have the potential to compose better music.
I agree fully. We forget that even though we desire well detailed feedback that we can't forget one of the most important parts of making music: Appeal. Anyone can help with that because no matter who's listening, they are your audience. Even if it's not their type of music, if done right, would appeal to them in some way and that could help you tremendously in finding out what people prefer, respond to, and most importantly, what it is about the musician's style that people can appeal to.

We all want to get better feedback for better compositional elements, but sometimes a response is better than none at all.

Yeah, but a response without constructive points is more of a compliment and less feedback. I personally think that compliments alone don't really qualify for a review, but with the Rating/Reviewing system of Newgrounds being the trainwreck that it is, people are using the review function to give and recieve compliments... I'd like to have a comment section on the content page in which you can comment without judging. I don't want to get into that discussion though, it has been discussed for ages and it's quite an efficient way to derail threads.

Mushraven
Mushraven
  • Member since: Sep. 26, 2001
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-05 16:11:11 Reply

You get what you give.

Review and be reviewed.

Yes, I read the entire post including the follow ups. That's some really great information for aspiring musicians and grizzly veterans alike.

Thank you for the quality posts.


BBS Signature
SonicJ
SonicJ
  • Member since: Apr. 15, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 08
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-09 08:37:44 Reply

At 2/5/13 03:22 PM, StaticBlu wrote: I agree fully. We forget that even though we desire well detailed feedback that we can't forget one of the most important parts of making music: Appeal. Anyone can help with that because no matter who's listening, they are your audience. Even if it's not their type of music, if done right, would appeal to them in some way and that could help you tremendously in finding out what people prefer, respond to, and most importantly, what it is about the musician's style that people can appeal to.

We all want to get better feedback for better compositional elements, but sometimes a response is better than none at all.

Precisely! Very spot on indeed! Artist strive to receive the best technical reviews, and have devalued the "commoners" reviews. When I say common reviews, I'm specifically speaking about the people who don't know the way to write beefy reviews quite yet, but just simply wanted to raise their voice ammong the crowd to shout "Good job, please make more!" Of course you have the "neutral" reviewers who really tend to be a hard spot artists. Those are the type of reviewers that don't say anything demeaning , but don't quite say anything that could be considered appreciative or helpful. Sometimes, because of the minimalist approach this reviewer takes, you can't make heads or tails of what the reviewer was thinking when the typed up their review. Single sentences that are of few words tend not to say much to any body.

At 2/5/13 03:27 PM, Draewa wrote: Yes, giving feedback is definitely something that can (and should) be trained, in fact I remember that we once attended a two-day workshop on criticism back when I went to school. The thing that bothers me with Newgrounds (and pretty much every musician community) though is that many people, instead of learning how to present clear and valuable reviews, [ ... ]

:[ ... ] I don't know, maybe it's just a personal thing of mine, but I always feel bad when I see that another artist is clearly struggling to say something nice about my content. I'd rather have him say "Your tracks are not my genre / not my taste of music" if he has nothing to criticise.

At 2/5/13 03:38 PM, Draewa wrote: Yeah, but a response without constructive points is more of a compliment and less feedback. [...]

Wow, another great idea churned!
I completely agree that training or guiding people to write better reviews can clean up audio portal reviews and let allow the reviewer to better exercise her or his opinion on a song, and subject matter in general. This guide was originally meant to guide the artist to getting reviews for their particular audio catalog, and this slightly diverged into how we could better the quality in a review itself! This is fantastic. Perhaps we can take this training idea seriously and have something come up of it?

I know how you feel when an artist write a song out of good mutual feeling, and sometimes it can feel like the least genuine approach to reviewing. I tend to look at this as a matter of perspective. The artist was not forced to check out the other persons music in return, but they did. We can think of this as "the glass is half full", if you will. The corresponding artist at least checked out some music, and at the very least said : "good job". That is not a full blown review by any measure, and could be considered a compliment. Still, a compliment is feed back.

At 2/5/13 04:11 PM, Mushraven wrote: You get what you give.

Review and be reviewed.

Yes, I read the entire post including the follow ups. That's some really great information for aspiring musicians and grizzly veterans alike.

Thank you for the quality posts.

I end up having a really fond and deep appreciation for people who themselves, can appreciate something to it's deepest regard. Thank you for taking your time to throughly read through this thread and catch up on our discussion. That is throughly appreciated


Audio portal reviews : A detailed discussion and study
Leave a random artist a constructive review. You never know how that could help.

BBS Signature
DylnMatrix
DylnMatrix
  • Member since: Jun. 15, 2010
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 09
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-09 09:33:02 Reply

I've been following this thread since it started, and I have to say it's great, all the tips given. I've even started to try and take some of them into practice.

When it comes to reviews and reviewing, the whole 'review to be reviewed' aspect doesn't always work, unless you specifically ask for it after your review. I personally do my best to check out every one of my reviewers newest tracks, no matter the quality of reviews they give, and if I feel the urge to, I'll definitely leave a review. Leave me a fairly helpful/detailed review, you're almost guaranteed to get a review from me, as I'll be motivated to do so.

I've not done much portal hunting to leave reviews though, as I'm lazy and have a lot of other stuff that's more important in my life. And if I do find a track, and I feel like they need some help, I have absolutely no clue how to help them, even if the music is in my genre. If I know they'll get more feed back, I'll leave a review, as I know maybe someone will know what they're saying and be able to articulate what I wanted to help them with. I leave fairly detailed reviews, but I feel like a review should leave some kind of advice on what exactly to do. Kind of hard to do that when you have no clue what you're talking about half the time. But on occasion, I'll find a gem in the rubble, and leave a review just saying what I liked and didn't like, and I'll come back to them on a later date to find they've improved greatly and hear that they took a lot of what I said to heart.

As I basically said in the first paragraph, I take all reviews I get to heart, no matter the quality. If you give me a good quality review, you're almost definitely getting one back whether you ask for it or not, even if it isn't my genre. I'll say what I like/don't like and try to use my musical knowledge to give you some advice, if possible. I've even checked out the stuff from the people from the Review Request Club after making a review request, though I haven't really reviewed any of their stuff, as I kind of feel intimidated a bit with how well structured their reviews tend to be, and how well versed in music some of them are.

I'm still learning how to review, and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this thread for more tips on how to be a better reviewer.

KaDoYuu
KaDoYuu
  • Member since: Mar. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 30
Animator
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-09 12:38:10 Reply

At 2/9/13 09:33 AM, DylnMatrix wrote: I've been following this thread since it started, and I have to say it's great, all the tips given. I've even started to try and take some of them into practice.

Same here. These tips are also helpful to non-muscicians. There's plenty I can take from all of this. Perhaps I'll have a better idea of what people look for in reviews and leave constructive feedback, which was pretty much the appeal I found in the Original Post.

... I feel like a review should leave some kind of advice on what exactly to do. Kind of hard to do that when you have no clue what you're talking about half the time.
...I haven't really reviewed any of their stuff, as I kind of feel intimidated a bit with how well structured their reviews tend to be, and how well versed in music some of them are.
At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Draewa wrote: ...leaving valid and valuable criticism on songs is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so. Way too often I see reviews that are written with good intentions, but provide nothing to the content creator...
At 2/9/13 08:37 AM, SonicJ wrote:
At 2/5/13 03:22 PM, StaticBlu wrote: I agree fully. We forget that even though we desire well detailed feedback that we can't forget one of the most important parts of making music: Appeal. Anyone can help with that because no matter who's listening, they are your audience.

We all want to get better feedback for better compositional elements, but sometimes a response is better than none at all.
Precisely! Very spot on indeed! Artist strive to receive the best technical reviews, and have devalued the "commoners" reviews. When I say common reviews, I'm specifically speaking about the people who don't know the way to write beefy reviews quite yet, but just simply wanted to raise their voice among the crowd to shout "Good job, please make more!"

^This is exactly what puts me off from reviewing audio submissions, in most cases. As much as I love music, I know I am not well-versed in techniques and terminologies. I love to give shout-outs, but I also want to be constructive. At least letting the artist know that I appreciate their work is better than attempting to nitpick at something I know little-to-nothing about or not leaving any feedback, at all. I never know what a few words of encouragement can do for someone, so I try to leave some anyway.
(I hope I didn't screw up the 'quoting' feature. A preview button would have been lovely)


"Trolls are people who long ago gave up the will to live worthwhile lives, and now dedicate themselves to tormenting others, in attempts to drag victims down to their level."

Axel7
Axel7
  • Member since: Dec. 3, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 03
Musician
Response to Lets talk about audio reviews 2013-02-11 13:23:23 Reply

you sir, I like you, what kinda music do you make?...actually fuck it ima check you out -_-