As music has become ubiquitous, music critics, and the magazines they write for, have become collateral damage, bypassed on the digital highway by cheap and instant gratification. It?s not that expert insight has become irrelevant in an era of crowdsourced feedback. It?s just that, at $0.99, an impetuous decision gone wrong is simply no big deal. Besides, you can listen to full songs by just about any artist by searching free streams and MP3 blogs to find out what they sound like.
The subject hit home at a panel I was on Tuesday at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. The subject pretty much gave it away: ?Critical Condition: The Future of Music Journalism? The participants were veterans from the Chicago Tribune, Daily Swarm, Jazz Journalists Association, Idolator, the Independent, National Public Radio, NewMusicBox, Pitchfork Media, URB magazine, Washington City Paper and the Washington Post.
Yesterday, 13 music journalists convened at Georgetown University for the Future of Music Coalition?s Policy Summit panel, ?Critical Condition: The Future of Music Journalism.?
Our ranks included reps from online-only (Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork, Maura Johnston of Idolator), old media vets (Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, Tom Moon of the Philadelphia Inquirer), and some in-betweeners.
While there were a few too many panelists for a coherent discussion, the ideological breakdowns were awkwardly clear: New media vs. old media, generalists vs. niche(ists?), and many, many iterations of ?Kids these days don?t know how to write about music,? followed by, ?We?re all fucked.?
If you?re in the Washington, D.C., area and you have the afternoon free today, feel free to come by the Georgetown Hotel and Convention Center at 2 p.m. for a discussion of the state of music writing that features Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, David Malitz of the Washington Post, and me, among others. The discussion is part of the Future Of Music Coalition Policy Summit, which wraps up today and which, according to reports from friends who have been here this week, has been chock-full of good discussion since it kicked off on Sunday.
The FTC?s theory about how reviewing works sounds like imagined order at best, misguided favoritism at worst, and I hope to bring it up at the Future of Music Coalition?s Policy Summit tomorrow, where I?ll be a panelist on ?Critical Condition: The Future of Music Journalism,? along with Maura Johnston of Idolator, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune and NPR, WaPo?s David Malitz, Tom Moon at NPR, Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork, Casey Rae-Hunter of the Future of Music Coalition (and frequent WCP contributor), and a few other superstars.