Pitchfork’s absorption is the end of a music era

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The Future. Pitchfork being folded into GQ has stirred up a lot of emotions in the music and journalism industries. Essentially, if a tastemaker like Pitchfork can get diminished, is any other pure music publication safe? The future of not just music journalism, but all entertainment journalism, may end up becoming a specialized niche business under larger, more general media organizations that can foot the bills.

Background music
Condé Nast is on the defensive, stressing that the Pitchfork brand and website aren’t going away — just the reporting structure will change.

But, with synergies come layoffs.

  • At least 12 people were laid off, including ten in editorial, leaving only eight editorial staff members.
  • That scares music journalists — folding the trendsetting publication into a men’s lifestyle magazine recalls the moment when SPIN, Rolling Stone, and Vibe were all narrowly defined as “men’s interest” to advertisers in the 90s.
  • Indie musicians are even more scared — a good review from Pitchfork was a lightning rod for press and listenership, so a smaller publication means fewer resources to cover artists.

Ironically, The Associated Press reports that an audience development editor at Condé Nast said Pitchfork had the “highest daily site visitors” of any of their brands. But that’s clearly not enough, with Max Tani at Semafor saying GQ’s better advertising performance prompted the reorganization.

It looks like the struggling digital advertising business found another high-profile victim.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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