Editor’s note: Yes, sometimes we do editorials. Here is one. : )
It’s no secret that The Music died in a snowstorm on Feb. 3, 1959, but it’s a bit more contested as to when, or if, The Music Journalism might have died.
Was it when Rolling Stone allegedly broke up Cream in May 1968? Did it pass with Lester Bangs in Detroit in 1988, or when his brainchild Creem Magazine followed him a year later? Could it have been when Rolling Stone magazine decided to put Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on its cover in 2013?
Specific incidents aside, the face of music journalism, and how stories about music are presented to the world, has changed. Physical publications are becoming more scarce each year in favor of online-only content. Some major music outlets are slowly, and quietly, ducking out all together.
All of that doesn’t necessarily mean it is dead, though. Music journalism can still be found in the hand-stapled pages of indie zines printed in someone’s bedroom. It can arguably be found in the comment sections of YouTube videos. For those who seek it out, it is hiding in multitudes of obscure, DIY music blogs (hi). It is truncated into 30-second, easily retweetable videos about everything from new releases to What Kanye Said Today. It is even in all the 140-character headlines, each seemingly more surreal than the last, about Martin Shkreli’s questionable interactions with the music business (we’re still waiting on the rest of that Wu-Tang Clan album, by the way).
For those (old people) who personally, and fondly, remember the glory days of Rolling Stone, maybe today’s music journalism might seem foreign, or even completely wrong. However, those who look to the future of music in general with excitement may find themselves salivating at the new frontier of how we write about music.
As Lester Bangs once aptly said, “nothing ever quite dies, it just comes back in a different form.”