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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.Some of the problems that have beset music magazines are familiar from discussions about the publishing industry's woes in general: Readership's down, advertising's down, the old guard has been slow in adapting to the Internet. But like newspapers and shelter titles, music magazines have proven especially vulnerable. 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" …
I confess, I do spend one or two nights a month googling bands mentioned in THE WIRE magazine who sound good.
The important thing about music journalism isn't the "information" -- it's the writing, the evocation, the discovery and the curation. Musicians are interesting when they're asked interesting questions. If you just want a gig guide or a list of this week's new releases, then, yeah, Google's your friend. If you want to know WHY you should listen to something, or if you want to find out all about something you never heard of before, or you want to know what's REALLY similar to the stuff you like, not what a poxy last.fm or pandora algorithm thinks... you need music journalists
There's also the fact that the broadsheet newspapers poached lots of music writers and started devoting more space to album/singles/gig reviews. This seemed to climax in John Harris' article bemoaning the lack of music journalism...published in the Guardian.
The important thing about music journalism isn't the "information" -- it's the writing, the evocation, the discovery and the curation.