The Collapse Board finally cracks | an explanation of why we are finally introducing star ratings
By the Collapse Board Editors
(except Lee Adcock, because no one asked her – but that’s OK, I mean she’s not that important anyway)
It was inevitable, looking back on it.
Despite the protestations from certain staff members here at Collapse Board, and lines such as
The problem is that ratings give readers an excuse not to read reviews. I admit that this may account for part of their popularity, but it also helps underline a small part of the reason why the publishing industry is in so much trouble. In the same way the record business has contrived to drive the perceived value of its products down to zero, by allowing music to be something you get free with a newspaper or a soft drink, so the publishing industry has spent years telling its customers that the words it publishes in its magazines and newspapers really aren’t worth wasting your time and mental energy on reading. Why bother with [writing a review], when the red blobs at the bottom convey the information you’ve come for in a much more convenient package? (Batey, 2009)
….we have had to bow to the rising tide and admit that yes, of course, Rolling Stone, Drowned In Sound, The Guardian, NME and (of course) Pitchfork were right all along and that there is only one way to write reviews of popular (and not so popular!) music. I mean, we all love to say how much we admire The Quietus but does anyone read it without that all-important numerological summary? Oh, come on. There’s no pretending any longer. Collapse Board – and by extension the people who contribute to it, the bands who are written about by it, and the audience that reads it – has suffered enough. Without star ratings, it is next to impossible to a) get advertising, b) be used in promotional material by the record industry, (most importantly) c) be linked to on Metacritic and have our words reduced to one meaningless symbol, d) be considered authoritative, or e)… we forget what e) was for.
We are put in mind of the classic Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers volte-face here.
When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded. I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it […]
So, effective immediately, we are introducing a star rating system based upon the digital system.
Here is well-known music industry parasite Scott Creney to explain it for you. Take it away, Scott.
I think since we’re living in a digital age it only makes sense to grade albums on a scale of 0 to 1. I’m up for it if everyone else is.
Very well put sir.
The benefits for you the lowly reader will be immeasurable. Take, for instance, the new videos from Jenny Hval and someone who isn’t Jenny Hval.
A clear ‘1’ – right?
And the other video? A clear ‘0’ – right?
Wallace Wylie, on the other hand, suggests we could be a little more inventive in our scoring approach. Yes, Wallace?
Just make them binary in general. 1000 out of 1010.
Not a bad suggestion, sir. Although perhaps a little advanced for those who do not understand base 2. As Andy Golding points out,
The review marking system would only appeal to 10 kinds of music critic fans, namely those that understand the binary joke and those who don’t care.
And that’s what Collapse Board will be like in the future: clear, punchy, incisive, straight to the point and absolutely meaningless. It is time we swallowed the pill (it ain’t that bitter) and became like every other music writing site out there.
We will be in touch.
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by Everett True
My name is Everett True. I am a music critic. This is what I do. I criticise music. The clue is in my job description – music critic. I do not consider myself a journalist, as I do not research or report hard news. I do not consider myself a commentator as I believe that everyone should be a participant. I criticise people and in return I am not surprised if other people criticise me. It is part of the whole deal of being in the public arena. I am Everett True. Believe in me and I have power like a God. Quit believing in me and I no longer exist.