The forum’s built on Discourse, which is open source. No idea about hosting, and the amount of time patten’s sunk into this absolutely constitutes a cost, but the software is free.
@arcane_psalms mat dryhurst is consistently right about pretty much everything affecting this corner of the industry, usually in ways that no-one else realises until about a year after he’s said it. he’s right here too, the fundamental issue is with the models of ownership of these platforms.
@criminiminal I know lots of people who’ve written for Singles Club, and have always valued it as a way to check out new releases, but I think it suffers from the opposite problem: too many people trying to score sick burns on mediocre records make the whole exercise kind of dumb. I remember Ben UFO saying that the only person to ever come out of it not looking like an arsehole was Joe Muggs’ seven-year-old son, or words to that effect.
@ everyone else:
There are lots of interesting points in this thread, some of them on the money and some of them (imo) a bit wide of the mark.
The big one which really needs underlining is the point made at the top of the Crack article linked to by the OP… the almost total collapse of the ad-funded model which has previously sustained the sort of platforms we’re talking about here. Facebook and Google have hoovered up this market, to the extent that they now account for something like 85% of all the money spent on online advertising. Cue everyone else scrabbling for that remaining 15%, meaning more clickbait or unadventurous commissioning, and / or greater reliance on corporate tie-ins / external sources of income to fund losses on content production.
Some platforms embody this more troublingly than others: I generally agree with mat dryhurst that the fundamental problem here is the capitalist foundation on which the whole thing’s built, and the myriad ways that model replicates itself.
I completely agree with @blank about the actual quality of writing at the moment though: there’s some exceptional stuff continuing to be produced by The Wire, RA features, Quietus, Pitchfork, and all over the place. There are even a few really good blogs still bubbling along under the radar too, like those Japanese soldiers on remote Pacific islands, still fighting their own personal WW2 deep into the 1970s. If you’re consistently reading dreck, chances are it’s as much to do with your choice of outlet as with the industry as a whole (though not to say there aren’t systemic issues too).