Modern Drummer Product Review Bias?

A few months ago I got a subscription to Modern drummer magazine after many years of not reading the magazine. I'm enjoying it, good mix and variety of articles.

I am wondering about the product reviews in the magazine though. I've never read a bad review of a product (in the last 3-4 issues anyway). The reviews appear well thought out and will indicate if the product is a beginner, intermediate, pro-level. The reviews also explain the features of the product. If that's their intention with the review then they've accomplished that.

After reading the reviews I never get a sense as to whether a product is really any good or achieved what it set out to do (ex: a intermediate level snare that is reviewed by MD as a poor quality intermediate level snare, or a snare with poor features).

I realize that reviews and opinions are subjective, but for me that's an element of a good review. When I read these reviews they seem sterile; like MD is trying not to upset the makers of the products (like yamaha, pearl, etc) as the companies are paying lots of dough for advertising. Makes me think that MD has a biasness not to say anything critical of the companies.

Like I said I've only read about 3-4 issues so far....Any thoughts?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
It's a common criticism of their reviews.

It's rare they ever say anything particularly bad about a product. On the other hand, if they say something is a good beginner product, that does make it fairly clear it wouldn't be suited for pro use. One does have to read between the lines.

I rarely read the product reviews anyway, even though I'd had a subscription for 20+ years.
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
Another point to consider is: if a product is so bad that it deserved to get tanked by the reviewer would the magazine be criticized for wasting editorial space on a piece of junk? I agree that at times the reviews are a bit on the "vanilla" side but I can usually dig enough info out of them to see if a product is worth a closer look or not.
 

spides666

Senior Member
I guess on the flip side look at other magazines that feature say a full page ad for a new album or tour dates for a band. Read the review of that album, bet your bottom dollar it gets 4 out of 5 or better ; - )
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
When I read these reviews they seem sterile; like MD is trying not to upset the makers of the products (like yamaha, pearl, etc) as the companies are paying lots of dough for advertising. Makes me think that MD has a biasness not to say anything critical of the companies.
There is that factor, although a smart company isn't going to 'punish' MD by pulling ads, and hurt their own exposure at the same time. Drummers absolutely notice when a major doesn't have an ad. It happened a few years ago when one major US drum company cut their ads by half, the rumors and speculation about their financial health were rampant. The company has since resumed its monthly placement.

But MD reviews aren't always squeaky clean, if there's something bad to say, the reviewer will. However, they really couch their language so it doesn't stick out like a sore drum.

Bermuda
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
reviews really are just another form of advertising for a company, so I'm sure they pay for them, hence the neutral reviews. That, and these reviewers didn't pay lots of money for what they're reviewing, therefor they can be more level headed without getting pissed that something wasn't up to par after dropping lots of cash. I think it makes for a better review actually. In the regular public you have some people that hate every thing no matter what, and some people that have no problems with anything no matter what (or won't say anything). MD reviews have criticized product's flaws in the past, but keep in mind, companies are gonna send their absolutely most flawless products to be reviewed, so they won't get any lemons to review; only the best examples.
 
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