Issues with Review Ratings Across the Board

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In this week's new releases, almost every release, across dozens of releases, was given 3.5 or 4 stars.  This is a trend I've noticed getting worse over time.  I've been following you guys for many years now.  Your service for providing rankings across an artist's discography is invaluable, but for some reason whereas your reviewers are fine giving an album from twenty years ago one or two stars, they have a notable issue doing the same for contemporary artists.  I don't have an easy answer, but if you guys can't resolve this discrepancy in the long run, your site is going to become less and less useful, as the historical reviews with honest rankings become slowly out-populated, year by year, with a flood of overly-generous reviews from recent years.  A reviewer who is afraid of being critical to their contemporaries is understandable but honestly useless, and it seems like a problem that is getting more and more endemic to your site's overall approach to contemporary music criticism.  Maybe it is a problem with music generally, with all critics finding it harder to notice failure at the time, or being afraid of making an unpopular judgement and being lambasted by a rabid fan base, but your business model requires you getting this right, and I for one can't honestly find any value in reading an overview of weekly releases where the average across every contemporary music release seems to be 3.75 stars.

Best of luck with all of this, wishing you guys luck in the challenge.  Cheers,  Ryan.
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Posted 2 months ago

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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Thanks for the kind words Ryan.

This topic has also come up in the past, and our Senior Managing Editor John Bush chimed in on a similar thread:

He's crunched some similar numbers for recent years and plans to go over his findings with the editorial staff to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as guidelines for ratings go.