The Purpose of Music Criticism in Society
Music critics have existed, professionally and recreationally, for hundreds of years . Since music criticism, as a profession, has existed, the public has been informed about happenings in the music world. The purpose of music critics is to educate and inform the general public about music (whether in the form of album reviews, live performance reviews, artist profiles, or artist interviews).
Professional music critics are expected to provide insight to the public about whether new albums, live performances, and specific buzz and popular artists are worth checking out or not. It is the critics’ duty to sift through all of the artists that exist in the vast musical landscape and direct their readers to the best artists, so that they may focus their musical attention towards them. Critics are also expected to be informative and unbiased in their reporting, in order to provide an accurate depiction of the material they are reviewing.
Professional critics should be and are held to reporting standards: both ethically and professionally. According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, journalists are required to: (1) seek and report the truth, (2) minimize harm to sources, subjects and colleagues and respect all human beings, (3) act independently, by being free of obligation to any interest other than that of the public, and (4) be accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers, and each other. Professional standards that all critics should be held to are to: write in a concise and coherent manner so that the public can understand the message that they are trying to convey; write in a grammatically correct manner, and adhere to proper punctuation standards.
Critics are also expected to accurately state information about the material they are reviewing. They are expected to be knowledgeable and provide an educated opinion about the subjects at hand.. Without proper preparation and background, they will not be able to properly inform their readers about the music they are covering. Without properly researching the artist, album, genre, show background, and the genre’s history, the critic will make errors. Errors due to inadequate preparation severely reduces the critic’s credibility among readers and colleagues, and make him appear ignorant. If the critic has not prepared, his readers maybe misinformed and will ultimately be upset if the information provided to them was inaccurate.
Music critics provide a valuable service to the public. They direct and inform readers about musical endeavors that might interest them. Without music critics, the general public would be left to its own devices when it comes to exploring new music. In essence, without music critics, listeners might not know where to or how to obtain new and intriguing music.