Saturday, August 01, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

It sounds like the traditional music news and review medium, namely the music magazine, is dying - and fast. Slate has this article on the three big reasons why music magazines are going down.

Late last month, Vibe magazine announced that it was ceasing publication. The next day, word arrived that Spin was laying off a half-dozen staffers. In late March, Blender folded outright, and a few months before that, Rolling Stone trimmed its masthead. (Blender hired me out of college in 2002, and I worked there until its demise.) For this strange moment, at least, many onetime professional music nerds share a common experience with many onetime investment bankers: whiplash.

Think about it - do you actually buy music magazines?

A couple of months ago I got all excited about an indy music magazine called Paste. I had heard of it a year or so ago, promptly forgot, and then a friend showed me a copy. I read all the reviews and articles and quickly became frustrated because I couldn't actually hear any of the music that was being discussed.

Wasting no time, I closed the magazine that I had so anxiously looked forward to reading, turned on my laptop, navigated over to Myspace or the artists' website, and listened to clips, full tracks, videos, and even read blogs from the artists themselves.

I've never purchased another copy of Paste since.

In a world where we are now accustomed to interacting (or at least following) music artists on Facebook and Twitter, it is easy to imagine that the music industry magazines' time may have come.

And these are points covered in the article (more or less). So now that I'm over my rant, here's the three reasons set forth in the article.

1. There are fewer superstars, and the same musicians show up on every magazine cover.

2. Music mags have less to offer music lovers, and music lovers need them less than ever anyway.

3. Music magazines were an early version of social networking. But now there's this thing called "social networking" …

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