State of the music criticism?


Hey! So in the Hardcore Continuum thread, I’m trying to slowly and lucidly (ha) explain some of the theoretical backstories that I believe explain both what it is and the different arguments about it.

I know the last thing anyone wants to do is consider what role intellectual history plays in all of this but personally, that’s what I’m seeing…still fleshing out the ideas over in that thread. But I’m writing it for people who understandably find it going over their heads cuz ultimately, I think it’s all understandable if presented correctly.


ahh, good idea. also having some kind of inbuilt platform to share and comment. I was just thinking yesterday how publications eliminating comments sections may have accidentally moved conversations elsewhere, or nowhere. The ability for people to interact with things being said, and for pubs to have instant feedback. It got all out of hand with users’ negative comments a few years ago and most pubs couldn’t moderate their comment sections any more, but maybe if tied in to a single platform of sharing / subscription, it could get interesting.


Great analysis and picking up of @parrishcouncil’s challenge to posit some actual ideas and strategies.

I still have yet to start the thread, but having first come of age in my early 20s during the mp3 and music blog days–and experiencing how something you could spend less than two hours a week on could have the kind of impact that’s almost embarrassing compared to the traffic numbers for my own site (tho NOT COMPLAINING cuz it’s the people who should find it are and that’s why it exists). I remember there being a debate on Twitter a while back amongst some friends talking about the state of criticism and Pete Swanson cited my site as an example of a strategy to reclaim music writing by music fans (leading to a typical Mat Dreyhurst rant…not talking smack, he’s been super supportive of my work but he’s also someone I need to meet in person again to communicate the area I strongly disagree with him about…but again, he’s fucking PASSIONATE and if I’ve learned anything, that’s the rarest thing of all today: sincere passion.

But of course, I freelance and do a minimal amount at the moment so I can focus on my writing projects…it sucks being poor but also is wonderful to sense that I’m slowly starting to write and say thingshow I actually want to…nonryhrlrd, I think to the period from 2006-2011 and just feel a rare pang of nostalgia as there were so many good music blogs and many of ther authos are still firends today. And to come back to this forum the ability for a group of people to self-select and join a forum like this could prove explosive


…sorry, browser froze.
…explosive velocity towards having an actual affect on corprate music criticism. Dog knows I’m seeing far more incisive and informd analysis here than I have anywhere else of late (with the exception of a Wire article every now and then…miss the glory days of the 00s for that pub).

Negative comments…so frustrating because I hate that site disable comments tho I also don’t know what else they’re supposed to do.



hey @nickecks thank you so much for posting this…adds a whole new dimension to this conversation, especially with regard to the noticeable rise in positive sentiment among the few working, credible journalists left. the pressure on writers to push an agreeable tone over a critical tone isn’t just shallow jockeying for VIP credentials or shrinking column space, it’s a result of how insidious “algorithmic culture” has actually become and how “rewarding familiarity” is really just another way of “punishing adventurousness”. as the editorial algorithm iterates over time, so do the types of music its critical feedback ultimately influences and informs…and with each cycle, quality erodes imperceptibly on both sides.



give it 5 years, we’re already seeing a social media backlash…algorithmic allergy is just around the corner


a big question that arises for me is how do we break our algorithmically defined lanes and find music that challenges assumed conventions of what we’ve been fed?

labels like trillogy tapes and reliable aggregators for me, stuff that people on this forum plug and keep going back to over time…also these end of year lists and avalon emmerson’s bandcamp program are helping lots…

…not to mention good old lineups and programming by bookers…


Hey folks, I’m in the electronic music niche and I know how hard it always was to get to the surface with a new release, to get noticed properly, to get even critics or to be reviewed. That’s why some friends and I recently launched a review channel on Youtube to help other EM producers to make themselves heard (EM, not EDM). So, social media is still a tool and always will be. Let’s see where we are in 10 years. I bet on that social medias will have even more impact than nowadays. I’m optimistic…


Writers are industry gate-keepers now. The ONLY solution is to completely dismantle the old guard. Anything less is cope


What would that look like in praxis?


NFT independent non Badcamp labels writers write based on their actual content on blogs like Coil, Medium etc etc RA goes bankrupt Warp forced to release real music again no PAN etc etc


Agreed. I’m loving Substack as an emerging platform, I think Medium will ride to the top but I’m weary since it’s owned by guy who started Twitter so who knows where “disruption” will take us…but yeah it’s about independent writing and criticism.

Algorithms also shape a certain type of article so even Medium is prioritizing feeding what feeds their algo ( and their business that it’s built around) best.

How do we feel about anonymous criticism? Is it useful?

What about giving releases grades and scores? I like AllMusic because it seems to be one of the last places I can dig up a relatable writer giving me his or her take in words and in x/x stars. To me that helps, if only to know how that person rates it in their collection. Moreso for older releases, but it’s good to have something to align my musical navigation with.


i agree with this. in essence, they are just revamps of european american values


i never heard of this. could somebody offer info?