Can Music Journalism Transcend Its Access Problem?

Jeremy Gordon, writing at CJR:

Twenty years ago, a magazine could slot a profile of a smaller band alongside an interview with a popular artist, and hope that it might be read as part of the whole. Now, every article is packaged individually on the internet and measured to the last click, making it very clear when something isn’t being read, incentivizing coverage of artists with proven followings. “It’s a giant shift,” Ken Weinstein says. “It was kind of better when people couldn’t really put an absolute finger on it because art is not that.”

Most music journalists aren’t so craven as to go entirely by the numbers, but they work at businesses. “I could invest ten hours and do a long feature on something that no one has ever heard of, but five people will read it,” Julianne Shepherd, editor-in-chief at Jezebel and former executive editor at The Fader, says. “And then is my boss going to be like, ‘Yo, what the fuck are you doing?’”

I found that this piece hit a little too close to home a few times. Especially when thinking about AbsolutePunk.net and the machine it got sucked up in. However, now that we’re independent, and largely based around a member supported model, I don’t have to care about what gets the most pageviews or clicks. It’s freeing.

Jason Tate
Jason Tate Jason Tate is the founder and editor-in-chief of chorus.fm. He can also be found at @jason_tate on Twitter and on Facebook.