Sounds is Selector’s editorial solution to a dilemma of authenticity faced by journalists covering the arts. As the name suggests, it’s a program designed to ensure that artistic merit guides our selection process by removing external biases that could influence our impressions of a given work.
The web traffic-based model of most modern publications pressures editors to maximize website clicks by selecting music submissions based on an artist’s celebrity or industry relationships. The failings of this paradigm are twofold. It stacks the odds against up-and-comers working to build an audience through media coverage, and readers miss out on discovering promising, new music.
Sounds accounts for the majority of Selector’s music coverage*. The releases in this category have received the highest marks by a blind tastemaker panel of industry professionals who rate each submission after listening to an unlabeled audio clip. As a strict rule, no artist names or associations are provided at that stage. Selections are based solely on criteria such as originality, execution and functionality.
Certain factors can still disqualify music even after it is rated highly. If it is determined that an artist hires ghost producers – or even credits co-creators in the liner notes of a release without mentioning them in promotions or digital service provider listings – we will decline to cover their music.
The Rating Process
Some of the music evaluated in Sounds is chosen by panelists themselves, but the program is also open to the general public. As long as there is a panel dedicated to the general style of any work submitted to Selector, it will be reviewed for potential coverage on the website.
Panelists will give each submission a rating from 1-10 after listening to it in a back end dashboard from a player that does not display the song title, artist name, record label, or person who submitted it. The process concludes for an individual track once three panelists have rated it.
The dashboard will not allow any panelist to rate their own submissions. Because of this, any panelist can submit their own music (or that of a colleague) without it creating a conflict of interest as the same opportunity is afforded to the general public.
The percentage of music Selector covers as a result of the Sounds program depends on the volume of submissions and available write staff. Only music with an average rating of six or more will be considered, however, and no more than 50% of the music submitted will be covered.
Current Sounds Panels
Selector currently has a panel for techno and a panel for house with additional genres on the way. The panelists for each one are as follows:
Selector is in an ongoing process of improving Sounds as a program. By supporting our organization, you make it possible for us to hire more writers to cover submissions as well as innovate solutions further eliminate biases that might influence the selection process. Find out how you can help.
*Selector may cover relevant news regarding more famous artists in our Stories section, and our Heritage Artists series highlights releases by established early innovators with a consistent track record for artistic integrity.