Have you ever felt like the 90-word capsule reviews that pass as “music criticism” these days were too, like, long, man? Or thought that the slavishly press-release-ready writeups proffered by music bloggers didn’t get to the thumbs-up/thumbs-down point quickly enough for you to figure out whether or not you were going to go off and not pay for a record? Well, have we got the site for you: Musebin, a “music reviews that restrict opinions to 140 characters or less but don’t restrict those opinions from being voted on by other users popularity-contest style” Web 2.0 clusterfuck. OK, so it probably won’t change music writing as we know it, but it’ll sure make people out there who value nuance over knee-jerking, or even words over wrds, cry themselves to sleep a little bit harder tonight.
Or will it? See, what the Musebin folks say they’re reacting to is actually the decline of editing, not the ever-shorter attention spans possessed by an increasingly frazzled populace.
“It’s a reaction to the wordy, wordy MP3 blogs and people craving really concise content,” explained Musebin COO Adam Varga.
“Blogs have kind of killed the editor,” added Musebin CEO Greg Galant. “It used to be that anything that got written would be edited by people who read [the style guide] Strunk & White…. Blogs came along with no limit, and anyone could write anything. I think music reviews — which were already kind of long-winded — maybe got a little bit worse. You’re going to talk about some experience that happened to you in high school, and this and that. [We want to] capture the essence of an album so someone knows whether or not they should listen to it.”
Yeah, like, who wants to hear about the context of a critic’s experience, right? It’s all about Consumer Guides, baby! Buy now! Don’t buy! James Cramer Mad Money Ahhh!
The site’s currently invite-only, but its Twitter stream would seem to have a preview of sorts, since it’s basically ripping off Twitter only in a musical way. (Nice Vampire Weekend icon, dudes.) So how is that “return to editing” going, anyway? Let’s look at a few sample reviews that were helpfully provided by the folks at Listening Post:
“flowering and streaming and big as the light our eyes can catch”? OK, OK, so that phrase is taken from one of those wordy reviews that this site is supposedly crusading against. But if anything, that underlines the whole flaw behind this site: Limiting a person’s character count to the barest minimum doesn’t necessarily mean that person will magically be concise. Or coherent.
Musebin [Official site]
Musebin: Twitter-Style Music Reviews with Reddit-Style Ratings [Listening Post]