As part of their suite of year-end features published this morning (Animal Collective!?!) Tiny Mix Tapes is running a piece about changing landscape of music criticism in the face of, you guessed it, the internet. Not a new topic, of course, and probably not one you feel like reading about anymore, but the piece contains one of the most level-headed paragraphs I’ve read on the subject. And I’ve read, like, a hundred billion of them.
Ultimately, nothing should change with the shift from print to web writing. Good sites will still practice the art of editing and will select important material to post, and talented bloggers will impress with insightful writing. The great print writers will stick to print or find work on the web, and their voices will be heard wherever they land. Many music writers overstep their role, thinking themselves more important than their job, but now is a great time to purge the useless writers milking off the tit of the mother industry. The music writing industry had been too brash and confident for too long anyway, so let us welcome an even playing field. Sites that capture the imagination of people and respect and integrate the wisdom of those readers will make a difference. Just like some print titles did and still might.
If there’s something writer David Nadelle is missing here, it’s that as of right now, not a whole lot of web outlets are able to pay writers, which is problematic if you value the idea of the professional critic. Who knows, though? Maybe there’s room not only for PItchfork, but for Tiny Mix Tapes and a host of other smaller sites as well, just as there was once room for Spin, Alternative Press, Blender, Magnet, Paste, No Depression, right there alongside Rolling Stone. Advertisers need to advertise somewhere, after all.