The rough guide to critics: musicians discuss the role of the music press

Matthew Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the relationship between musicians and the music press from the musicians’ point of view, based on a collection of recent interviews with musicians working in the pop and jazz fields. It will expose some of the concrete effects of the music press using examples from the everyday experiences of musicians, which include the influence of the press in record retail, genre labelling, and creating industry buzz. But while musicians may have a pragmatic understanding of the role of music criticism, their perspectives are emotionally heated in direct proportion to the influence the press holds over their own livelihoods. The interests of the working music critic often conflict with the interests of the working musician, and this article will conclude with a discussion of how the practical conflict of interests between musicians and critics is reflected in ideological differences between the two groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221
Number of pages234
JournalPopular Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • music criticism, music journalism, critics, music press

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