Is there a point to writing about music in an age of unlimited music streaming services like Spotify and YouTube? (This seems to be the conference discussion panel 'du jour', and one which I've avoided)
Actually, let me rephrase that, why do YOU come back to sites like DiS, Pitchfork, TheQuietus, MusicOmh, Fact, Resident Advisor, Stereogum, GuardianMusic, etc, etc? People don't seem to understand you/us, and our/your weird ways. I mean, words and music, it's like listening to a pencil sharpener and eating the shavings. They think we're keeping a corpse worm, but I say fuck those broadsheets with their broad brushstrokes and faint outlines. I say, we're lovers, and haters, and we care. We care a lot. But why do we care? What is it we want from words about music? Have things changed? Was there a transition when what you really wanted was a quick guide as to what you should be listening to, rather than to invest time doing research to decide what to buy? Is time the new money? And is there a chance that sites like this mean that you invest a bit of time in the less surface and instant music, and I dunno, get to grips with a record like Tim Hecker's Ravedeath or Kate Wax or whatever...? Have playlists become the new magazine covermounts? Did you just buy mags for the cassettes on the cover? Has music writing ever really REALLY mattered that much? (obviously there is no way to quantify and compare the impact)
Sub-question: WHO do you love reading right now, who helps you better grasp what it is you should be investing your time in listening to? Does it make any difference it's a messageboard thread, newspaper column, print magazine feature or DiS review that hasn't exactly been sub-edited to ease of consumption? Have you seen any amazing concepts lately that allow you consume? Do you just treat 'journalists' 'writers' 'bloggers' as filters, like DJs of taste and things of interest?
Reason I ask, is that my Twitter feed is currently full of people freaking out about this brilliant rant by Melody Maker superstar-scribe Neil Kulkarni, which says things (mostly about the NME, that I think many of you will agree with) like...
''…trouble is now, no model’s being provided by the writers of possible ways of thinking and writing about pop - just an endlessly banal slew of platitudes, dying metaphors, meaning approaching absolute zero. Comes from talking down to the readership, the seeping middle-class assumption that any group as wide as a ‘readership’ needs things dumbing down, simplifying to the point of irrelevance. Where is the writing that speaks across to the readership, across the table, across the room, across the tracks and divisions to illuminate new ideas? Spiked, knocked out, or worse - not even thought of anymore. Reason? Because the WRONG FKN PEOPLE want to be music journalists, beavering hustlers and networkers, passionate ambassadors for their own needy inclusion in da biz, people so damn obsessed with getting their foot in the door they haven’t figured out if they have anything more than fuck-all to say, and couldn’t care less how revoltingly commonplace is the way they express that fuck-all. Style-less automatons of triteness and humbug and horseshit that criminally WASTE your time, and don’t even give you a laff in doing so.''
There was also this nice retort piece
So is music writing in crisis? Is it always in crisis? Isn't a crisis meant to be a good thing, because it forces people to re-think and experiment?