Should SPIN Move All Their Eggs to Their Digital Basket?

Has anyone else noticed how beefed up SPIN.com has become over the last year? It’s gone from a sorry excuse of a Web site to a frequently updated spot with web exclusive reviews and articles, videoclips, and mobile content. Granted, you can’t view a page on their site without being attacked by about 5 different upsell ads to the magazine, but I’ve found of late there has been some quality stuff on there. The writing is well-informed, in-depth, and timely.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, has anyone noticed how skimpy ad pages have been for recent issues of the print publication? I have no real solid data to back up what I’m about to say, but it’s almost as if the Web site grown and print magazine growth have had an inverse relationship. Their latest issue is as thin as a communion wafer. They’re starting to make an edition of the New York Press look like the September issue of Vogue. Granted, January is not known to be the high season for ad buys, but there are plenty other music magazines that have managed to pack their magazines with enough pages that there is enough width in the binding to use a font bigger than 8pts.

It makes sense for SPIN to concentrate more on their digital market–many of the bands that they currently highlight get so much coverage online that by the time the print mag comes out, their stories can sometimes read like old news. It’s hard for monthly print publications to keep up nowadays. Usually you’re writing stuff 3 months in advance…it’s hard to forecast what’s going to be hot tomorrow, let alone 16 weeks from now.

I am not by any means saying that SPIN mag should pack up the print shop, but the slim profile of the most recent issues is a bit alarming to me. This also brings up the question of whether people are more likely to pick up a hard copy of a magazine vs. finding their information online. Do you guys have a preference? What do you see as being the value/disadvantages of both mediums?

But back on the dot com–there have been some SPIN.com extras that have left me scratching my head. The recent addition of “Pixel Nation” has been one such project that has made me go “huh?” If you take a look at it, it’s basically The Cobra Snake/Last Night’s Party with of some obsessive compulsive interest in dishing out exactly what everyone is wearing and where they got it from. It’s like if Joan Rivers had an overly positive indie rock daughter who’s gone amok with a digital camera. I almost feel like I’m reading product placement after product placement (He bought this shirt at Brooklyn Industries! She got her shoes from Beacon’s Closet!) when all I want to do is look at pictures of good looking people in peace! No commentary necessary. But why the hell am I looking at party/fashion photos on SPIN.com anyway? What the hell does this have to do with the reason people come to SPIN.com–to read about music? Why the heck is this party section updated more than their music blogs? Who the heck knows?

So basically this post has no point other than print SPIN is getting skinny and Pixel Nation is confusing to me given the brand. Sleepy time.

I Call Bullsh-t On “Pitchfork Effect”

As soon as the ’90s ended, music fans were like, ‘Fuck you!’ Now the young people are taking over and are like, ‘I don’t need you to tell me what to like and not to like anymore!’ Take the choices and give them back to the kids, I say.”

When I read this quote from Drew from Broken Social Scene about Pitchfork, I got so rilled up I started writing this comment:

You would think they’d be able to make their site more readable and get better navigation after all these years. Dear lord, going to their homepage is like getting ADD all of a sudden. Oh, and the reviews are pretentious. I think we’d all be foolish to say that their writers are writing totally impartial reviews. Everything that anyone writes is somehow going to be influenced by the writer’s preception of the world, the band, the people that manage the band, etc. Pitchfork just happens to be in the mindset of “we are probably not going to talk about anything your jock friends from high school or your mom would know about.” I think I’d fall off my chair if they liked something that was actually on the top 40.

On the whole idea that Pitchfork is somehow giving power back to “the kids,” that’s a load of bull crap. It’s the bible of people who are so desperate for an “alternative” opinion to established music authorities like Rolling Stone, but then they just end up having the same exact opinions as the other idiots who definitely know they just don’t want to have a “mainstream” opinion but don’t know how to think for themselves. How is Pitchfork any different than Rolling Stone nowadays? So instead of people finding out about bands from Rolling Stone, they are finding out about them from Pitchfork. What’s the difference between being influenced by a writer from RS who happens to really like mainstream pop music and some writer who only likes bands that no one else has heard of? Just because more people are listening to you doesn’t mean your opinions are right.

Granted, Pitchfork succeeds in talking about bands that aren’t covered in Rolling Stone, but one publication can’t possibly cover all the music that’s out there. It’s simply impossible. Pitchfork is just another outlet for people to learn about music if they haven’t already heard of the bands. It’s simply just more exposure. Don’t you think that one day some other site or magazine is going to come along and replace Pitchfork?

But honestly, the real power of music is the same as it has always been–going out and listening to the music yourself, looking for new bands yourself, discovering what you like–not just going along with what other people think is good. In case no one has noticed, you absolutely do NOT have to like a band that Rolling Stone OR Pitchfork like. It is YOUR CHOICE.

Pitchfork and RS are both the same in that they are just part of the individual conversations that people have when they talk about what they think is good or bad in music. Pitchfork is just a new place kids find the bands about which they will talk endlessly on their blogs, in their homes, on IM, etc. “Ohmigod! Did you see what Pitchfork had to say about Sufjan Steven’s latest EP? It’s a collection of ‘songs’ of him farting! They said it was like the equivalent of having an aural orgasm–they said that you’d have an ‘eargasm’ listening to it because of its sheer melodic brilliance. So great!”

And I suppose for many people, people talking about you and listening to your music just to see if it’s really any good is just as valuable as people actually liking your music. If you don’t like what people are saying about a group that you like, or you want to tell more people about a great act you saw, tell people yourself. Go start your own blog/podcast/whatever. Get on your cellphone, send those emails.

Whatever, man.

Estro-Weekend

Ok, so a lot of people had birthdays this weekend, and a lot of people will be having birthdays within 7 days, so here’s a shout out to all: Audrey, Matt, Vince: Happy old days. You’re one year closer to death. WooH!

This weekend we sequestered ourselves off from the general public, as not to infect anyone and to heal our wounds. As a result, we watched a lot of bad/and or cheesy TV and movies. We watched like 4 episodes of “Sex and the City” (Season 4), Mona Lisa Smile, that WB Superstars show, Pepsi Chart with Phantom Planet on (yay!), “Crime and Punishment”, and some golf tournament. But we also re-watched Run Lola Run, which is one of our favorite movies of all time. You know, we used to say Trainspotting was our favorite movie of all time, but maybe it isn’t. We totally love RLR, it’s just so awesome and cool. Back when Franka Potenta wasn’t fake dating Elijah “I’m Not Gay” Wood.

UNRELATED LINKS: View the winners of the NY Times college photography contest; Read about Andrea Fraser’s “Untitled” in which she has sex with a patron in the 60 minute video; examining the conflicting feminine ideals; Awesome group of Brit MP3s over at Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again; New York Times inadvertently reveal that Interpol have a stylist while reviewing the problem-plagued The Delancy; The Walkmen talk to The Guardian.

Why I Really Should Wear Pants

About 20 minutes ago I was in the kitchen, making a Nutella sandwich. Now I think I need to make clear that it’s 3 o’clock in the morning. I thought my roommate was in bed- asleep. So I’m out there like in my underwear because that’s what you do at 3 o’clock- you go to the kitchen in your underwear. Well I wasn’t completely in my underwear, I was wearing an XL tshirt, but I certainly wasn’t wearing any pants (you know, like trousers… not like- underpants). So all of a sudden the door opens and my roommate comes in with two guys.

I’m like “Hi.” And I’m thinking, “I’m not wearing pants.”

One of the guys was my roommate’s cousin, who I’d met before- but there was some other Aussie dude I’d never seen before in my life. The cousin asks me if I went to a concert tonight because he knows I like music and I go to a lot of shows… I felt so predictable- I was like, “Yeah I did…” He said, “Really? Where was it?” I muttered something like, “Oh it was up in the 20s… It was Mull Historical Society…”

Then Random Aussie (as he will now be known) goes, “Youtwo?” I’m like, “I’m sorry?” He was like “U2.. Do you know the band U2?” I was like, “I know who they are, yeah.” “Do you like them?,” he asked. I responded with a mild, “Yeah they’re ok.” Then he inquired, “Would you see them in concert? … like if you had a free ticket or something?” I was like, “Sure. Yeah- they give a good show.” He prodded some more- “Would you pay to see them?” “NO,” I said.. maybe a little too quickly.

He turned to Cousin and Roommate and dismissively said, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about! She doesn’t even like U2.” I was horrified. If I had been wearing pants, I would have argued with him. But I wasn’t- and all I wanted to do was put some clothes on.

Luckily this link from Meg on How To Fake Being an Indie Rock Expert made me laugh through my sorrow.

Shorties vs. Giants and Tags by Julian

There’s a heated debate and discussion about Tall people vs Short people at concerts over at wnp?. As a member of the “short” camp, I have to say it sucks being a midget.

Hey Cali people- anyone going to the Fillmore soon? Get up to the front where the tape is running around the stage carpet and see if someone inscribed “JULIAN KICKS FAT-ASS” on it. Rumor has it Mr. Casablancas left his mark after an all-night b-ball session with DJ Aaron Axelson and Nick Valensi inside the venue.