Here’s the terrifying thing about the state of music in 2024 (from The Verge):

“The tech industry’s introduction of MP3 slowly felled major retailers. Behemoth music stores went belly-up in the 2000s: Tower Records, Virgin Megastores, and Sam Goody. FYE bought up the rest. Ads from those retailers vanished, too.”

Like, that happened 20+ years ago and we’re still recovering. All the music knowledge, the time we spent going to those stores, the jobs that were cut and lost… the digitization of music is an atomic bomb that I don’t think we’ve recovered from.

Back when we paid $16 for a CD, yes, music review sites were crucial. And of course, yes, music critics are of course needed, but they’re not valued (as we can see).

There was a time you could write for an online outlet and make a few bucks. There was also a time when you could write for a newspaper and pay the rent.

Ernest Hemingway was paid $1 a word in 1936. That’s more than $21 per word in today’s dollars. The maximum I was ever paid to write for a glossy magazine in print was $2/word, in 2021. No one (and I really mean no one) in media makes $21/word. That compensation just doesn’t exist. 

That’s from Defector (above).

When I ran Noisecreep in 2008 we were paying writers $50 a post.

A few years later, I was writing posts for $5 a post.

Now Yahoo for Creators isn’t even paying per post, but they “offer a competitive 50/50 ad revenue share from ad placements in your articles as well as e-commerce benefits like affiliate revenue share.”

CPM display ad placements. On blog posts. It’s 2005 all over again.


From the Wall Street Journal (below copied from 512 Pixels, as the WSJ has a paywall):

“It is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously,” Dixon told employees in the memo. He said the company could partner with established media companies to distribute its content. “As part of this shift, we will no longer publish content on”

And before this:

A domain name and hosting aren’t overly expensive. Put out something that folks will pay for and maybe earn a living doing it.

The glory days are over. Time to get back to making good shit with some friends and hoping for the best. 404 Media is profitable after just six months. Jason Kottke is making it work.

“The market didn’t reject Pitchfork: Condé had a captive audience, and never bothered to make a pitch.”

Pete Tosiello 

Newspapers were subsidized by ads decades ago. Classifieds meant local alt-weeklies could exist. Banner ads paid the bills for websites, until they didn’t.

Then came the corporate interests, the “smart” VPs with their business jackets and jeans outfits.

They came in, had their $400 lunches, made their money, and walked away just fine.

Like I said, “Maybe centralized kingdoms of power and influence aren’t the answer.”


Like I mentioned yesterday in ‘TRADITIONAL MEDIA KILLED IT ALL,’ the quote that got me was, “(podcasting) started as a homegrown endeavor before traditional media got into the game.”

Then I read ‘You Don’t Really Miss Blockbuster‘ by Chris Dalla Riva, and something else hit me between the eyes:

“Blockbuster was also constantly maligned as the corporate behemoth that bowdlerized mom-and-pop video shops.”

Oh, yeah, that’s right. The town I grew up in had several mom-and-pop video stores, one was run by people I knew!

But then Blockbuster rolled in, and the mom-and-pop establishments closed one by one.

It’s like maybe these corporate giants who waltz into our communities don’t have our best interests in mind (see also Conde Nast buying Pitchfork, Bandcamp left in the hands of Epic Games).


Peter Kirn at Create Digital Media talks about SoundCloud and Bandcamp, and how they’re devolving into money machines for corporate shareholders.

“It’s a simultaneous reminder that we need to build something new, maybe this time not for the investors, but for the eu-IVs – for each other.”

Let’s stop waiting for the next publication or platform to save us. The fix isn’t waiting for tech bros to share a tenth of a penny more in streaming payouts – the power is with people reading newsletters and creating websites.

“Yeah, but Seth, these things cost money!”

Well, buy a domain name or wait by the phone for the next big platform – I turn 50 soon and I ain’t got time to wait.

The mass scale of social media was a mirage and we all fell for it. Going viral is the draw to get you in the casino, and you pay with hours of your precious life feeding the social monster for your chance at 12 likes.

Let’s start using the internet as a tool to find our freaks and build our communities. Make things and launch projects.

Make the weird shit you want to see in the world, and don’t just do it for likes or shares – reach out to the other weird shit people and start conversations.

It’s like we’re meeting at the mall food court – find your fellow weirdos and then get the hell out. Go to the record store downtown, go to a friend’s house and watch skate videos, hang out at a park – these are all the things social media platforms are afraid of.

Are we replacing Pitchfork tomorrow? No.

Will another site become the new Bandcamp?

Probably not.

But why have we become compliant little pawns in all this?

Are we so powerless to change the current situation that we sit back and hope somebody else fixes everything?

And then what? That person will sell the company to a Nabisco+Tide hedge fund subsidiary, and we’ll be back where we started.

Maybe centralized kingdoms of power and influence aren’t the answer.

Local music scenes seem to get along without local press, huh?

Gallery openings keep happening with zero coverage from local media.

I’ve seen individuals host creative Zoom sessions with 45+ people spanning several time zones.

I see artists speaking directly with their fans with reliable email lists, selling tickets and albums in the process.

Now imagine if all these pockets of culture and art and magic started organizing and working together.

“If not Pitchfork, with more daily visitors than Vogue or Vanity Fair or the New Yorker – or GQ – then who in music journalism can possibly thrive in this economic environment. And if no one can… then all we’ll have left are streaming platforms, their algorithms, and the atomized consumer behavior they push on us. A self-checkout counter for music, with a scanner going beep – beep – beep –”

Damon Krukowski