The NBC songwriting reality competition's format "presents songwriters as tertiary to the pop stars and producers who will record the songs; everything is done in ruthless service of the star and the hit," says Carrie Battan. "Indeed, once an episode is over, the songwriters are whisked out of view." Battan adds: "Songland may be a weak platform for songwriters, but it’s an unwitting exemplar of the industry. The age of the album has passed, with many burgeoning artists deciding to shorten or forego the format altogether. Even the pop star is a diminishing force; in the churn of online virality, enduring icons are few and far between. The song is now music’s central currency, but its value can be unpredictable—the qualities that propel a track from obscurity to ubiquity are varied and haphazard. Songland aspires to locate and honor these qualities, but, by reducing songwriting to a polished, almost mechanized process, the show ignores the fact that an amateur experimentalist can mint a hit just as easily as a room full of professionals can." Battan points out, though, that Songland has yet to tackle hip-hop, a genre in which the use of "songwriters is still, by and large, considered sacrilege." ALSO: Songland is a refreshing dive into creativity.