Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pitchfork Media sold!

Who saw this coming?

Many people have commented on the remarks by Fred Santarpia, Conde Nast's Chief Digital Officer, who noted that the acquisition of PFM brings "a very passionate audience of millenial males into our roster".  Meaning we should expect more coverage of hipster beardo indie bands, less coverage of niche genres, and less of an emphasis on female artists and contributions by female writers.

But isn't that an overreaction?  People have complaining about PFM's narrow scope practically since it was founded.  Then they attempted to branch out into non-indie genres and hired fantastic writers to makes those genres accessible to a non-specialist audience.  The results were not unlike record labels in the 70's supporting artists like Lou Reed or Patti Smith, not because they might break out and sell millions of records, but because they were "prestige" artists who brought an artistry and sophistication that to their roster that was different from what mainstream acts could offer.  Lou Reed would get dutifully reviewed in the NYT, giving some cultural cache to his label, but the real money was earned elsewhere.  And so it is with PFM.  The money is in attracting a devoted urban male readership who click on the news feed every day and listen to Destroyer.

I'll be interested to see how this affects the number and quality of long feature articles on PF.  Music journalism has been trending toward one paragraph review, soundbite links, and endless lists for well over a decade.  We'll soon see if PFM's new corporate overlords share that "vision".

Or maybe the whole thing is a slick way to sell more Vogue subscriptions to males ages 25-35.  Either way.

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