The Problems With Pitchfork…

29th May 2014 9 comments

This began as a discussion on Quora but since it’s something which I’m frequently asked about, it seemed worth sharing here:

There are a few problems with Pitchfork.

– They’re far too pretentious for their own good now and they really have no right to be. Their writers are abysmal and they use school yard insults to describe music rather than actually discussing the music (describing music as a monkey’s ass, etc). Given their vast and global following, wouldn’t their time and space be better suited writing productive reviews? If they feel the need to be scathing and cruel, that’s their editorial prerogative, but at least write something useful to those who use reviews to gauge their musical selections.

– They think they’re now above engaging with people, which is a dangerous place to be. They’re terrible about interacting with their followers on Twitter and I suspect a good many of those followers are long time supporters of theirs. Social media is extremely time-consuming, but it’s also crucial. If they can afford to host festivals surely they can afford to hire some savvy SM gurus.

– They really only cover mainstream indie artists. Sure, they’re all about indie music-as long as the artists have gone Gold. Does that seem counterintuitive to anyone else? They have a lot of power and it would be great of they’d profile truly indie and lesser known artists. I love Radiohead, they’re my favorite band ever, but I’m pretty sure Radiohead is going to get plenty of press coverage outside of Pitchfork. How about maintaining the spirit with which they started and actually profiling lesser known artists?
The band I manage, Noughts and Exes, has been featured in Time Magazine, on CNN, in several issues of Time Out, and been in numerous publication’s end of the year ‘best album of the year’ lists. I’m based in Chicago, as is Pitchfork. Most people in the music industry are all about interacting and meeting new people, especially in Chicago as there’s such a pitiful industry scene here….but we’re not mainstream enough for them. Emily Danger, an incredible Brooklyn based band, is getting TONS of press and attention. They gig constantly and have for several years now, did a US tour which was funded by a Kickstarter tour that was so successful they had money left over to record an album, they’ve already released one EP, and have a newly released single. Again, Pitchfork is last to the party, but you can be sure they’ll hop on the bandwagon and, as they so often do, retroactively act as though they’ve supported the band all the while.

– Which leads me to my next problem with them. I can’t think of a specific example and man do I wish I could, but there have been a few instances where they’ve lambasted an artist or album and later acted like they’ve been a longtime supporter of said artist or album. I know a lot of people have noted this issue with them so perhaps others will have specific examples, but it’s maddening. Acknowledge you used to dislike something or someone and you’ve changed your position but don’t waiver.

Ultimately I think, as my Grandmother would say, they’ve gotten too big for their britches. They seem to be ruled by the notion that everyone needs them and they need no one,
but perhaps they should keep in mind that the people they’re ignoring are largely the people who made them the indie conglomerate they became.

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