Update: Worth the wait? Print vs online music journalism/ fandom

Simon Reynolds longs for and mesmerizes (romanticizes too) the ‘era’ in which music magazines ‘mattered’ – in an essay he wrote for Pitchfork. They still matter, but after reading Reynolds piece (and knowing a lot of them have to shut down – recently even including a magazine I worked for in the past) I’m not sure what he wants of ‘us’, pop music fanatics. The physicality of the magazine is what he actually longs for, the pace of the time when ‘time’ was not yet ruled by constant accessibility to news.

Reynolds refers to the era of the ’70/’80s when in the UK the music magazines appeared every Wednesday anew in the kiosks, but it’s a phenomenon that reached further than the UK (obviously) and that is not only remembered by people who grew up in the ’70/’80s. (Plus, what about the decrease of print media in general?) There’s still a group of people who await these weekly’s (if they haven’t turned into monthly’s) and .. is there really such a remarkable change in quality/ writing or content of what these magazines present online? Okay, it’s not that feeling of paper in your hands anymore, no more ink spills, and no more additional single or album you got with an issue. But still, in essence: there’s still music journalism & there’s still chunks of music & appraising words or critique …So, I’m just wondering, do we need to be nostalgic about this already?

*Update: After posting this blog and tweeting about it Simon Reynolds favorited it and I asked him some questions: see our little conversation here (read upwards):

Schermafbeelding 2014-09-04 om 10.53.20 Schermafbeelding 2014-09-04 om 10.53.35


3 thoughts on “Update: Worth the wait? Print vs online music journalism/ fandom

  1. A big change is the interactivity of all culture. In the past, authoritative voices would impart their insights for us to digest, but now no magazine, website or media institution believes it can do without a dialogue with it’s readers. What chance do independently-minded writers have in the face of an infinity of opinionated consumers, who after all are driving the magazine’s precious (and plummeting) ad revenues? In this new scenario of two-way writing traffic, the creativity and risk-taking of music journalists is just a roadside casualty; they have become little more than PR hacks for record companies.

    • Thanks for your reaction! I agree: the idea of dialogue increases, but does that move beyond a few lines of snidy comments? Yet, it might also decrease the ‘authority of the music journalist’, which could also be seen as a benevolent thing? But yes, the music journalist is surely a casualty in this fast paced world (and new style of journalism, having been in that position myself). Nevertheless, I would say, there is still a market (in print, eg the Rolling Stone) on and offline in co-existance at the moment.

      • Let’s hope so! I bought a very good magazine about Tom Waits the other day (you know the kind of tribute magazines) – mind you, it was mostly made up of archive stuff from decades ago. Maybe that’s the way things are going – rock has been around so long that the most interesting part of it is the re-evaluating of the past. Simon Reynolds does it himself in his books, very enjoyably. The only drawback is that I feel like a sad old fart who doesn’t understand the present…

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