Want to Be a Music Critic? This Site Will Actually Pay You to Write Reviews

Image: Ipod
Dennis Tang under Creative Commons

Want to earn extra money while listening to new music?

You need to check out Slicethepie. The site promises cash payouts in exchange for music reviews — and in that aspect, it delivers.

Once you sign up, you have access to a nearly unlimited stream of music, each individual track waiting for your personal review.

However, if you want to make serious money with Slicethepie, you have to be ready to listen to a lot of music. We’ve mentioned the site before, but this time, I’m going to explore how to make the most of it.

Ready to learn more? I tested Slicethepie and tracked my initial earnings to give you an idea of the earning potential. Plus, I’ll share a few optimization tips to help you get the most out of the site.

How Slicethepie Works

Slicethepie asks you to listen to a piece of music for at least 90 seconds, rate the track from 1 to 10 and write a review.

Once you submit your review, the site runs it against an algorithm and determines your review payment. Better reviews get higher payouts, and also move you further up the Slicethepie ranks — though we’ll get to their definition of “better” in a moment.

There’s also an energy bar that prevents you from reviewing too many tracks too quickly. If you run out of energy, you have to wait before starting your next track.

The site makes it really easy to earn some money. However, earning a lot of money from Slicethepie is a bit harder. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!).

How Much Can You Earn With Slicethepie?

It’s hard to say how much any individual user will earn, since the site is fairly vague about how much it pays out per review. I got paid either 5 cents or 6 cents for each review and made about 50 cents an hour.

In theory, you earn more money for longer and more thoughtful reviews. But, even after submitting reviews over 100 words long, I could never break the 6-cent barrier.

At the end of my initial test, I had a Silver ranking — users are rated Bronze, Silver, or Gold — which suggests I was earning the same amount of money as the average Slicethepie user.

By looking at other users’ experiences online, it looks like once you work your way up to the Gold ranking, you’ll earn around 15 cents per review.

Unfortunately, Slicethepie doesn’t provide information about how it determines rankings, and doesn’t offer guidelines on how to move up in rank, besides “submitting lengthy reviews in well-written English.”

It’s the biggest criticism of the site, since many users are ready and eager to write Gold-level reviews, but don’t know how to fulfill Slicethepie’s Gold guidelines.

Slicethepie Optimization Tips

Whether you’re earning 5 cents or 15 cents per review, learning how to optimize the site can increase your payout .

Most Slicethepie users are going to try to run the site in the background while working on another project. It’s easy enough to plug in your headphones, let a song play and then tab over and review the track.

However, running Slicethepie in the background is only going to earn you 50 cents an hour, at most. If you want to get the maximum payout, follow these tips:

  • Give the site your full attention. Don’t try to review tracks while you’re doing something else. To maximize your income, you need to push through as many tracks as possible per hour — so stay focused.
  • Start writing your review as soon as the track begins playing. Try to have the review fully written in 90 seconds.
  • Write reviews quickly and easily by sticking to a formula. Write one sentence about the song’s rhythm, then one sentence about the instrumentation. Do the same for the vocals, and then the lyrics. Close with your personal opinion of the track, then suggest three different locations where the track might be a good fit (e.g. radio or background music for commercials).
  • Never let a track play longer than 90 seconds. As soon as the 90 second limit is up, submit your review and start the next track.

With this method, you’re likely to review 30 to 35 tracks per hour. (You might need to take a break if you run out of “energy.”)

If you hit a Gold ranking and earn 15 cents a track, you could come away with a $4.50 payout.

Earn money even when you’re not working for Slicethepie by recruiting friends to join the service. For every friend you recruit, you earn 15% of any review payment they write in the first 60 days, and 10% of any review payment they write after.

Is Slicethepie Worth Your Time?

Slicethepie isn’t a great way to make a lot of money quickly.

Even after moving up the ranks, you’ll probably only make a few dollars an hour.

However, if you’re the kind of person who really enjoys picking apart a song and writing a thoughtful review, Slicethepie is a good way to earn a bit of extra money for your effort.

Your Turn: Have you ever used Slicethepie? How much money did you earn? Would you recommend it to others?

Nicole Dieker is a senior editor at The Billfold, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, The Write Life, Boing Boing and Popular Science.