Having published Ambient Visions since about 1999 I have seen lots of music come and go during this time period and had the pleasure to have heard quite a bit of music that was never known as widely as it should have been. I have had some great reviewers who have contributed to the website (some still do) over the last 7 years and I hope I have been able to bring to the attention of our readers some of the great music that I mentioned above.
Being a very online person when it comes to my purchases I read as much as I can about any given product before I turn over my credit card number to the entity trying to sell me something. I read about the movies and the music that I buy as well. If I really want something most times critical reviews of a piece of music or the latest DVD will not dissuade me from going ahead with my purchase. And yet these reviews and comments do guide me in forming opinions and most even if they are out right attacks on the product do contain some shreds of truth or at the very least a well thought out opinion of the product that is being discussed.
The comments sections on websites like Amazon where you get instant feedback and a critique of products offered for sale fascinates me. Don't get me wrong I have seen this feature abused by those who have a vendetta against the author, the artist or the company offering the product for sale but for the most part an intelligent reader can discern when this is happening and weigh that opinion with the other opinions offered in regards to this same product. If there are no positive comments at all about the merchandise you are considering buying then perhaps a little more research might be in order before the money is spent.
I was thinking why something like that would not work with Ambient Visions as well. I don't have an automated board that will take reader comments or reader posted reviews and immediately have them displayed on Ambient Visions but I don't mind working on the website and posting material that might help others find some music they wouldn't have otherwise known about. And that is the bottom line in all of this isn't it? Finding the music that you enjoy and then sharing it with others? That's what AV has always been about and I would like to get a feel for an idea that I have.
I subscribe to many e-mail lists and it seems that everyone offers an opinion about the music they like and some post full reviews of material that they have enjoyed and want to share with their fellow list members. Do you as the reader see the potential for a page on AV called Reader Reviews? It would be a place that would house some of these more long form thoughts that you might want to share on a list but you wish it could get even more exposure than just the list membership. This would be non exclusive so that if you wanted to post it to every list from here to Timbuktu that would be fine as well. At least you would be able to expose your thoughts on the music to the readers of AV on a regular basis. The other advantage is that some artists don't get reviews on AV simply because I don't have a lot of reviewers these days so this would be an opportunity for those artists to gain some exposure with the readers of AV.
I can set the page up without much hassle and I can post the material that comes in but I wanted to see if you the readers would be interested in contributing. No sense putting up a page that no one really wants in the first place and no one is actually going to want to contribute to. The material would need to be more than just "A great CD" with no further comments but would not necessarily entail book length dissertations on the CD in question. So is anyone interested or should I just leave this alone and continue on with AV as is? I welcome your feedback on this issue and I hope to get some ideas as well. This offer is open to those who review ambient/new age CD's anywhere on the web but wouldn't mind seeing their reviews posted here too as non exclusive to AV, it is open to the thousands of readers of AV who might want to share a little more in depth their thoughts on the new music they have found recently and it would also include other artists who might want to comment on their peers music if they thought it might help them gain exposure in the ambient community.
I see this page as a joint effort between the readers of AV and myself. If I am way off base here just let me know that it won't work and I'll move on to other topics in the future. So let me know and we'll see if this leads anywhere. Looking forward to your comments.
Michael Foster, editor