The Art of the Review

Many times I’ve received questions about how to write a music review for, a veritable goldmine for performing musicians. It stands to reason people may be intimidated by writing a review…but it shouldn’t be so. Here’s a side of the story you may not have considered.

Working class musicians work very hard to promote their shows. It’s how they make their living. Most of their “salary” comes from tickets sold at the door plus the net profit from merchandise.  Every concert is kind of like a self-contained, mobile store. As a business model, I don’t think there is another quite like it.

Unlike other professions there is no guaranteed salary, or a regular paycheck. There’s no health insurance package or 401K to sweeten the deal. There’s no annual review in their personnel file that let’s them know how they are doing. They literally have a new set of bosses at every gig.

The closest thing a professional touring musician has to an annual review is what the audience has to say about the concert experience.

It used to be a frequent occurrence for journalists to cover most live performances in any city. Depending on the journalist, any number of things could be said about a show. Maybe it was an artfully crafted article or a cold critique. The most complimentary reviews ended up in the artist’s press kit for booking purposes and other media opportunities.

We all have a few extra minutes sometime after a show to let the musicians know how we felt about their music. Was it the most exciting music experience you’ve been a part of? Was the sound so bad you felt sorry for everyone on stage? Did they play the best rendition ever of your favorite song? What were the shining moments? And what made it special for you?

The art of the review can be as formal or casual as you’d like it to be. There are really no rules. The point is you are, as a fan, giving a favorite band or musician your take on what your experience was. Your words go a long way toward helping a large sector of self-employed people continue to make a living in their chosen profession.

About scout66

2017 marks the 33rd year of Janet Hansen’s career as a music marketing specialist. With three Grammy award-winning campaigns to her credit, Hansen has also contributed to the legacy of two of history’s most popular songs. “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams is the most-broadcast instrumental tune in history; and “Louie, Louie” by The Fabulous Wailers is the most-recorded rock song in history. In 2009 Hansen launched the unique music platform Scout66 to encourage reviews of live shows from the ticket-buying public. You may contact Janet at for information on consulting, campaigns, and tour support. Please follow us on Twitter at
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2 Responses to The Art of the Review

  1. Rob says:

    I think I’m going to have to make a mental note to stop by here once in a while. Especially for those times when Janet needs >140. Long live the live show.


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