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Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.

The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

03
(This is the first entry in my new blog which will cover music and related technology stuff)
 
 
 
Muse.ie logoBack in 1999 when I started CLUAS the most visible music website in Ireland was www.muse.ie. At that time it was run by Eircom's digital publishing division (christened with a - of course - cooler than thou name: 'Rondomondo').
 
Remember, this was the time before the dot com bubble burst and those working for this new interweb thing were going to become masters of the universe. Or something like that. Ronodomondo somehow persuaded some moneyed (but gullible) people to hand over loadsa dosh to help them get a place on the frontline of this, er, new world order. Rumour has it that the Rondomondo boyz'n'gals then - holy Batman - splashed a good wad of it on flash offices and even flashier dot com furniture, all necessary for the cause of course).
 
Anyway, roll the clock forward now to early 2000 and in strides the pin to burst the dot com bubble, neatly pricking Rondonmondo on its way. So before you could double-click your gold-plated mouse it was farewell to muse.ie. Until now that it is.
 
Yes, the muse.ie domain name was bought by an Irish company called MediaSpace who last November announced they would be 'shortly' relaunching Muse.ie website. The launch date kept getting pushed back, until a few days ago when it was finally launched.
 
However at the end of January I managed to find a rear door to the muse.ie site that was wide open from where I could sneak in and see the site as it was at that stage in its development. It was looking good even then but there were clearly a number of rough spots to be sorted out. One of these rough spots however is not just still in place but was exploited by one of the site's first users. Read on…
 
On my first visit to the new version of muse.ie my eyes were drawn to the first album review they published . A review of a new release by someone called Vanessa Holmes (no, I'd never heard of her either).

Muse.ie album review section

The review itself had a pungent fishy odour about it. First up, it read like a very badly written press release ("You can here samples of the CD album right now at…"), then the very generous rating by the reviewer (a whopping 9/10) raised my eyebrows a notch or two. (Update: the review has since been removed by Muse.ie from the site, however here is a screendump of the original review that allows you to read it in its entirety).
 
I decided to dig a bit deeper. The review was written by "millimills2000" and her muse.ie profile gave a load of information about her, including a link to her myspace page. And it was here that my worst fears were confirmed. Scrolling down the MySpace page I found a comment left for "millimills2000" by none other that the esteemed artist who was the subject of the review in question - Vanessa Holmes - which Vanessa signed (wait for it) "Love Always, Your Niece Vanessa"…

Muse.ie: Vanessa Holmes comment

Well there you have it. Up and coming bands of Ireland, take note - the time has finally arrived to mobilise your Aunties to your cause! Muse.ie is here, the 21st century platform for Aunties (and sure Uncles too, why not?) to publish their glowing reviews of their nieces' and nephews' carefully crafted musical art. Just get them to sign up for a free muse.ie user account and global domination of music markets is yours for the taking.
 
Yes, yes, yes, excuse the facetiousness of the last paragraph. What is going on here is that muse.ie is allowing anyone to publish any review of any act they want without any editorial intervention. This is crying out to be abused and so it was as soon as it was out of the traps. Now - to their credit - Muse.ie seem to be aware of this as in the last 24 or so hours as they changed the title of the reviews section (where the offending article appears) from "Reviews" to "Your reviews". Even so is it really sensible to present yourself as a music magazine (with an appointed Editor who previously oversaw NME Ireland) but then allow any review of any act written by absolutely anyone to be published without as much as a momentary check by a lowly sub-editor? This functionality should never have seen the light of day and should - IMHO - be dropped.
 
(ASIDE: We on CLUAS have in the past had similar attempts by bands - or those close to them - to submit glowing reviews of themselves but we were able to screen them before publication. A propos, I invite you to also savour my all-time favourite rejected review submitted to CLUAS).

Despite all the above I have to say muse.ie is impressive in its ambition and the richness of its functionality. Will it be a success? I genuinely hope it will (it'll be a darn good place for me to steal new ideas for CLUAS and, sure, a rising tide floats all boats does it not?). It will certainly attract a good number of Irish music fans.
 
I do however note that Muse.ie wants bands and fans to create their own webpages, upload their own music and videos. Sound somewhat familiar? Will users and bands really want to maintain yet another profile page on muse.ie in addition to their own websites, MySpace & Bebo pages and blogs? Only time will tell.
 
In the meantime, be sure to call up your Aunties before muse.ie pull its Auntie-friendly review submission service!
 

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