Did Pitchfork Kill the Rock Critic? The changing landscape of music journalism
By Alex Baumgardner, NewCity Music
I’m not really the person to comment on this, given just how infrequently over the years I’ve visited Pitchfork. (I know there are people all over the web who wear comments like that as if they’re a badge of honour or something, but truthfully, I’ve just never felt a kinship with the place or with the bands and genres they are in general known to cover, never really cared for their overall presentation or feel or design enough to even bother delving much into the writing; I’m also not in an endless quest for new music, and haven’t been for over 20 years.) Still, the central thrust of this piece — Pitchfork has been much more successful at promoting the Pitchfork brand than at promoting any individual writers — seems accurate enough. The question is, does it matter? It matters to Jim DeRogatis, who is quoted here while jumping up and down proclaiming that music “is not entertainment” and therefore deserves better (isn’t it? does it?). But does Pitchfork‘s readership care about what Jim DeRogatis cares about? Should they? (If so, why?) Do Pitchfork readers really give a shit about finding “the modern-day Creem“? (Do any of us really need more of that, right now?) Why were no DeRogatis-like experts from Pitchfork‘s actual demographic tracked down for commentary?
Overriding all of this, however, is my growing irritation at the word “curator,” which shows up twice here (it was one reason I also couldn’t resist mocking that Creem story from a couple days ago). When did this stupid notion — of rock critics as “curators” — take root and what can we do to kill it, preferably sooner rather than later?