Piano CD Reviews - - Should We?

Posted by: Piano World

Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/08/08 11:01 AM

I occasionally receive CDs from companies who want me to review them (on Piano World of course).

I don't feel qualified to provide the reviews, and besides, it would only be my opinion.

But, it did get me thinking.
Perhaps we could review Piano CDs as a group.

If the artist or their marketing company would be willing to provide some MP3 excerpts (and/or YouTube clips) I could post them along with a poll.

The poll would contain questions about the performance, music, overall impressions, etc. (I'm open to suggestions).
And, you could post written responses to the poll thread.

It's just an idea at this point.
But I think it could potentially be a win-win.

The artist gets to expose their material to our (not small) group, and the members/guests get to learn about new CDs (MP3s, etc.).

Feel free to respond to this thread, and please take the poll.
Posted by: TheBritishPianist

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 04:36 AM

Sounds like a great idea!

Are you talkinging about classical piano CDs?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 08:28 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TheBritishPianist:
Sounds like a great idea!

Are you talking about classical piano CDs? [/b]
Actually any piano CD (classical, jazz, rag, new age, etc.).
Posted by: Numerian

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 10:31 AM

CD reviews have potential for Piano World but some questions need answering:

1) Are the CDs devoted largely to piano, as a solo, concerto or accompanying instrument? Can we assume an orchestral CD not featuring the piano would not be reviewed?
2) Are the reviewers credentialed in some way? Need they be performers, music teachers, or people with previous criticism background? Or can any amateur who can listen and type be allowed to review?
3) If there is a rating system, how does Piano World prevent manipulation? It's not enough to just limit voting to one per URL. The problem eBay has with its ratings could crop up here too.
4) Are ordinary users allowed to comment on a review? If so, what are the guidelines?

As Piano World has grown in users and stature, and become the place to go on the internet for piano matters, what is said here about piano manufacturers, retailers, performers etc. starts to matter. Sock puppets show up, and in a recent case a lawyer makes threats and forces an entire thread to be removed. Piano World needs proper legal guidelines on these matters for its own continued operations, and in turn it would help if there were a code of conduct for users as well.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 10:52 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Numerian:
CD reviews have potential for Piano World but some questions need answering:

1) Are the CDs devoted largely to piano, as a solo, concerto or accompanying instrument? Can we assume an orchestral CD not featuring the piano would not be reviewed?
2) Are the reviewers credentialed in some way? Need they be performers, music teachers, or people with previous criticism background? Or can any amateur who can listen and type be allowed to review?
3) If there is a rating system, how does Piano World prevent manipulation? It's not enough to just limit voting to one per URL. The problem eBay has with its ratings could crop up here too.
4) Are ordinary users allowed to comment on a review? If so, what are the guidelines?

As Piano World has grown in users and stature, and become the place to go on the internet for piano matters, what is said here about piano manufacturers, retailers, performers etc. starts to matter. Sock puppets show up, and in a recent case a lawyer makes threats and forces an entire thread to be removed. Piano World needs proper legal guidelines on these matters for its own continued operations, and in turn it would help if there were a code of conduct for users as well. [/b]
All good points Numerian.

We will need to work through these.
Personally I don't think we should limit reviews to people who are "qualified".

Although a member like Jeffrey Biegel is infinitely more qualified to comment on technic, interpretation, and execution than I am, he isn't capable of telling me what I like or don't like.

My primary goal here is to expose our members/guests to more music, at the same time helping the artist reach their intended audience.

I'd like to think that as we grow (now averaging 5-6 million page views a month, over 10,000 unique visitors a day), we can have at least some positive effect in the piano world.

You are correct about our guidelines.
We have a set of Rules and Regulations here...
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/12258.html

But I'm sure they need to be updated.
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 11:57 AM

This sounds like it could be fun. It also sounds like a good way for members to learn about new CDs that we weren't aware of.
Posted by: cs_carver

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 12:12 PM

 Quote:
I don't feel qualified to provide the reviews, and besides, it would only be my opinion.
What else is a review but an opinion? Agreed, some opinions are worth a bit more to me than others; I have my "trusted" movie reviewers. Amazon stumbles along just fine allowing readers to evaluate the relative value of different reviews. When I see someone trash a book and it's the only review that person has ever posted, it's pretty easy to disregard. Similarly, a five-star review that offers no more praise than "greatest book I've ever read" doesn't get me to hit the "buy now" button, either.

So, IMO, the question of reviewer qualifications would depend on whether the reviews were attributed to "piano world," per se, or simply a new? forum on this board.
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 12:33 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by cs_carver:
Agreed, some opinions are worth a bit more to me than others; I have my "trusted" movie reviewers. Amazon stumbles along just fine allowing readers to evaluate the relative value of different reviews. When I see someone trash a book and it's the only review that person has ever posted, it's pretty easy to disregard. Similarly, a five-star review that offers no more praise than "greatest book I've ever read" doesn't get me to hit the "buy now" button, either.[/b]
Agreed, I would value a review by someone like Kreisler far more than anyone's first post. Perhaps reviews could be limited to either a probationary period or number of posts. This would put a damper on people signing up to offer reviews. I think by 100 posts we have a pretty good idea of whether a member's posts are constructive or not.
 Quote:
Originally posted by cs_carver:
So, IMO, the question of reviewer qualifications would depend on whether the reviews were attributed to "piano world," per se, or simply a new? forum on this board. [/b]
I believe all quotes of reviews should be attributed to their writers. I also don't believe there'd be much value in quoting them elsewhere, but I've been wrong before.
Posted by: Chad Twedt

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 02:47 PM

I also think it would be great if reviews could focus on CDs put out by smaller labels or even independently produced CDs. Of course, doing this means more submissions, lower quality submissions (on the average), and therefore more volunteers to screen mp3s/Youtube clips. Reviews of "undiscovered music" would, I think, be of great value to your Piano World members - perhaps even more value than reviews of major releases.

Chad Twedt
www.twedt.com
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 02:55 PM

I like the amazon model of doing reviews, and I'm often more swayed by the nonprofessionals' judgments than the "official" reviews also posted on amazon. But I would prefer seeing that type of review than simply a poll kind of numerical rating of expression or performance.

It's hard to predict how successful it would be. Would you set up a separate forum for reviews, Frank? And then each CD would get a separate thread that others could add to? That would be a logical way to organize it, but the risk is that it would become one of those hardly-ever-visited forums.
Posted by: IrishMak

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 02:56 PM

As stated above, pretty much all reviews are opinion. Granted, "professional" reviewers are paid to be critical and look for flaws, but I think what we would do here would be a bit different. Certainly, there are those who could (and should) be considered knowledable enough to provide professional reviews, but I think for the most part, what would be provided here would be on a more "everyday" level:

Did you like the CD (or video or clip or whatever)? Why or why not?

What particular things did you like (or dislike)?

Would you buy it? Why or why not?

Hey, I've got opinions about just about everything- and I'm usually not shy about saying so! LOL I usually post a review of the concerts we go to on my LJ, and there are people who at least find them amusing, if not helpful (and long-winded, but that's another show... \:D ). I think the idea of reviews here is a good one, if only to allow people to be exposed to music they might not find on their own.
Posted by: slaketa1

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 03:08 PM

GO FOR IT.
Posted by: dmc092657

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 04:33 PM

A great idea ! Every review will always be just one person's opinion. But I always take that into consideration before purchasing a CD. If its a piece I'm interested in, a bad review never stops me. At the same time, a good one by itself won't propel me to buy a CD either.
Posted by: Ted

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/09/08 05:00 PM

I wouldn't want to write reviews because my musical reactions are far too individual to be of much use to people; that's the main thing I have learned in six years of posting on forums. Neither would I take much notice of what anybody else said about something, for the same reason.

However, it could be a good way of my finding out that a particular CD existed. Sometimes I haven't known for years that a recording existed I would have really liked.
Posted by: ddh

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/10/08 03:18 PM

I also think it is a very good idea; I often read reviews from ordinary people: on Sheetmusicplus, Amazon or ePinions ant hey will help form an opinion without influencing much on final decision.

Inasmuch as it is written by a member to be read by a member, we could quickly recognize reviewers with similar tastes and use their reviews quite effectively, whatever their level of competence.

I think the system should not allow reviews to be discussed within. An opinion is an opinion.

I do have one question: how would the music be chosen; could anyone review a cd they own or would specific music be proposed ?
Posted by: ddh

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/10/08 03:29 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ted:
I wouldn't want to write reviews because my musical reactions are far too individual to be of much use to people... [/b]
I think this is probably one of the best reason to write reviews that You could find. When I read reviews, the more useful ones are always the ones who have a different perspective and can explain it. They are the individuals I will trust most, wether I agree or not, to give insight on a product. :p
Posted by: Peyton

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/10/08 07:15 PM

Sounds like a great idea!
Posted by: Bob Newbie

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/11/08 09:44 AM

and if necessary.. CD sound quality..
Posted by: apple*

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/11/08 05:22 PM

it would certainly broaden Piano World's scope.
Posted by: turandot

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/13/08 03:21 AM

Since it would focus on the musical product of the artist and the piano, I think it would be therapeutic, less likely to get bogged down in a battle of the brands. For someone like me who's too lazy to keep up with current professional recordings, it would be educational too.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/15/08 07:10 AM

This would be a separate forum, correct?

I like the idea.

I like the idea of the writer needing 100 posts already to critique, rather than some family member signing up for their quick one review post. Or heaven forbid the sockies. Writer's avatar name needs to acc the review.

I also think that since most people have so so computer speakers that the mp3 need to be downloaded to a CD and played on a quality audio system or post on what they listened to it on.
Do you need to get permission for that?
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/15/08 08:01 AM

Frank,

Might I also suggest that you post this on the other forum sections? A lot of interested pianists there too, and they might not be checking in at the piano forum!
Posted by: gutenberg

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/17/08 06:51 PM

I like the idea, but I see from the poll results that many want ratings as well. That makes me less comfortable. I don't particularly like number or star ratings in some of the sources I read. For me, ratings generalize too much and can be misleading.
Posted by: Skip D

Re: Piano CD Reviews - - Should We? - 07/20/08 12:33 AM

Agreed! The stars could make it seem more like those Amazon reviews on everything. Personally I'd enjoy reading and participating. I collect hard to find classical CD's and some jazz related mostly to piano literature.