The Crappy Music
by Noah Lugeons
I might just be too sensitive for this line of work. I’d like to think I’m pretty thick-skinned, but that would be contrary to all the evidence I’ve seen so far. I take a lot of pride in the Podcast we produce and I take the feedback personally.
That’s not always the case, of course. I get occasional feedback from true believers and I look upon that with amusement. But when I get feedback from an objective person who takes issues with the technical stuff, I really take it to heart. The upside of that is that if I didn’t, it would be really hard to improve the quality of our show. The downside, of course, is that a bad review in iTunes sends me into a multiple-day binge of hopeless alcoholism, drug use and self-flagellation.
Take, for example, a recent 3 star review we got that summed up their feelings in 7 words:
Get rid of the crappy music please.
That was the extent of the review, so I don’t know if there were additional unspoken issues that cost me stars, but the review seemed a bit harsh. I mean, if it was a music podcast, crappy music would be a pretty serious issue, but for the 15 second clips I use in episode transitions (and the music bed behind the calendar segment), I honestly didn’t think the quality of the music mattered much. I mean, I wasn’t gonna use Rebecca Black or anything, but I certainly didn’t think anyone would ever base 2/5ths of a review on it.
Exacerbating the depression that negative reviews of the podcast naturally give me is the fact that I compose and record all the music for the show myself. I guess ‘compose’ is a bit strong of a word, as what I actually do is improvise 2 or 3 minutes worth of stuff once every two weeks and take a few 15 second clips from it to plug in to the space between poop jokes. So this review was attacking both the podcast and my musical acumen.
To be fair, attacking my musical acumen shouldn’t bother me. I’ll readily admit that I’m an amateur musician without much will to advance beyond that amateur status. I enjoy writing music, but I have no illusions that I’m particularly good at it. I certainly envy the much cooler themes that shows like “Reasonable Doubts” and “Post Rapture Looting have. And don’t even get me started on the king of atheist podcast theme songs, “Won’t You Listen to Reason” from the Atheist Experience (and if that’s not the name of the song, it should be).
But I still dig the notion that I built the show from the ground up, including recording the theme, the music beds and the filler. I’m not married to it as a concept, but I also don’t want to comb the internet for better podsafe music that I’m only going to use 15 second clips of. I would be recording these little improvised jam sessions anyway. So with a high quality file of some original music at the ready, it seems like an unnecessary pain in the ass to add to all the work that goes into creating a podcast.
Of course, the most important thing is the quality of the podcast and I’ll readily cop to the fact that people are usually pretty bad at assessing the product of their own creative efforts. Upon reading the review, I had to open my mind to the possibility that the music is way shittier than I ever imagined and I’m just blinded to it by the same process that makes ones own fart smell rather better than those of others.
Up to that point, this review was the only comment anyone had made about the music specifically, so it weighed on my mind quite heavily until last night. And then someone said they thought the music on the podcast was really cool. That evened the pro and anti-columns up and I’m fine with that. I suppose that I’m also saying that the price of the free entertainment I provide is listening to a collective 84 seconds of crappy music once every two weeks, but I do want to produce the best podcast possible, and if the majority opinion is that I need better music, I’ll get better music.
But until more data can be collected, I’ll invoke confirmation bias and assume that ‘PiggyCop’ on iTunes just has bad taste in crappy music.