An eye-catching piece of spurious research reveals that music critics are totally valueless, more or less:
E-commerce firm Avail Intelligence conducted this latest Trust Index research which showed 40 per cent of respondents preferred information sources such as the iTunes Music Store and the iLike Facebook application.
The opinion of family and like minded mates came in at the top though with 41% of the vote.
This sort of misses the point, though: theatres don't rely on every potential customer reading the Daily Telegraph's review of a new play, but that doesn't mean that the review doesn't play a role in shaping the public response to the play.
I'd imagine most journalists would be delighted that as much as 20% of the audience explicitly listen to their opinions in the first place, before the effect of word-of-mouth and background buzz plays its part.
So, what we have is a piece that says "hardly anybody buys music on the direct recommendation of a critic", which isn't news - hardly anybody reads music criticism in the first place, judging by the total circulation of the various music magazines and their online figures. And if people's tastes were shaped by reviews, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion would be selling perfume over a counter somewhere in the Americas. Probably Campag Velocet branded toilet water, at that.
And what was the company that brought us these results again? Avail Intelligence, huh? A copmpany whose business is effectively harvesting word-of-mouth and person-to-person recommendations. So, no vested interest there then, at all.
But then, don't take my word for it. I'm a critic.