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    Newthinking Communications, Creative Commons (2016) ©
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Who cares what critics think?

As professional critics lament their ebbing influence on consumers who increasingly rely on the opinions of online peers, the question is being raised of whether top-down reviewers matter anymore. Are crowdsourced reviews – a sort of ‘online word of mouth’ – the only currency that counts?

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‘Do critics matter?’ The question has been around for years, and has only grown more relevant as consumers increasingly rely on online peer reviews when deciding what music to listen to or film to see, leaving professional critics across media lamenting their ebbing influence.

The guerrilla release of Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows (initially online-only and on a pay-what-you-want model) was heralded as a turning point in the fightback against reviewers – a moment when artists decided critics were expendable and when word of mouth, not professional reviews, came to the fore. [1] Now, albums are released ...

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