Why Fighting Critics of Your Band on Social Media Is a Bad Look


Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, and worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls’ Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Our singer handles the Twitter and tumblr for the band and normally what he posts are just updates about the band, but last week he went off on a local critic that gave our new EP a bad review. He blasted him on Twitter, but the worst part was that he then took the review apart on tumblr, line by line. He didn’t ask us or even tell us he was going to and seems to think the writer deserved it because the writer was “unfair.” We don’t live in a big city, there are only a handful of music writers in town, and this was not a bridge that should have been burnt. Should we apologize? I don’t think he’ll delete the tweets even if we begged him to. It’s super embarrassing.


Dear C.,
Being able to handle criticism is rarely the strong suit of any artist. The art your frontman is making is very personal, so criticism, no matter how warranted, can feel like a personal attack. He responded by acting like a baby, like everyone should understand what you’re doing and be very positive and gentle about it. Not everyone is going to like your band, and it’s too bad he is having that revelation in such a public way. Here’s to hoping he learns from the situation and doesn’t repeat it.

Deleting the tweets won’t put the horse back in the barn. You should talk to your singer anyway, and the whole band should not be shy about their feelings. He needs to think things through, because his actions represent the band poorly. He doesn’t need to apologize to the writer; any music journalist worth their salt gets these sort of freakouts from artists — I have gotten them over teeny, tiny criticisms in otherwise glowing reviews I’ve written. That said, a note to the writer from you or another member saying that you appreciated the coverage, regardless, might make it so that further coverage is not tainted by whatever the singer wrote.