The famous music review website Pitchfork recently laid off staff and is merging with GQ, essentially ending its 28-year run.

I can’t say I regularly read the site, but some of the postmortems resonated with me, and underscored the extent to which user-generated content and social media distribution are changing culture. Like this post from Yancey Strickler, a former writer at the site. While they started with an idealistic view of music criticism, they…

quickly learned how editorial” fit in a corporate worldview. Nobody cared about what was being written or who was writing what. They simply saw editorial as a way to make their offering feel more quality — like a rug or oil painting meant to impart a touch of class.


A decade ago cultural criticism was a sparkly pixie dust you could spread over a business to give it a veneer of prestige. But in a world where TikToks dwarf all over forms of consumption and a video that someone spent a day making will get more attention than something a studio spent years and millions of dollars to make, who needs prestige?


The decline of the critic mirrors the decline of the mediums they cover. Music and film are industries whose relative cultural value has dipped, thus their critics’s cultural influence has plummeted. In realms like politics and the culture wars, however, critics are thriving. Where there’s power and money, critics can have influence and get paid. When the money and power dry up, the beat does too.”

Color me old fashioned, but I like getting recommendations for stuff from people, not algorithms.

Lots of good stuff in the post:

February 9, 2024