MBV Music
April 21st, 2010 4:25pm

Video: Christopher Weingarten – “Twitter & the Death of Rock Criticism Pt. II: Music Is Math” [NSFW]

Christopher Weingarten
“Twitter & the Death of Rock Criticism Pt. II: Music Is Math”

From the 140 Characters Conference, 2010 — (Rated R for wall-to-wall swearing)

(The actual video appears below; I had to put it “after the jump” because I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the annoying autostart, which I didn’t want on the front page.)

Subscribe to comments for this post8 Responses.
  1. Ryan Catbird says:

    You’re either gonna come down in full agreement with him, or else angry at his hatin’, but either way one thing is certain: you will remain convinced for the duration that at any moment, his head is going to explode like in Scanners.

  2. tom says:

  3. Ryan Catbird says:

    Not to point too fine a point on it, but I do want to point out that Whiney speaks about Hype Machine without very much nuance (“Don’t Believe The Hype Machine!”), which I don’t think is fair to Anthony and the rest of the Hype Machine team, who are all awesome, amazing, and talented people. They are unquestionably 100% genuine in their ideals– they are some of the most “real” people you will ever meet — and they work constantly to keep the system from being gamed, misused or abused.

  4. Gabe says:

    Here’s one thing you will never see: someone given a platform to speak on an issue they care about, striding up to the microphone and saying “this one is neither here nor there.” Of course people, when trying to persuasively argue a point in 10 minutes, are going to make brash generalizations, and reduce a complex and probably murky issue down to black or white. I like Weingarten’s writing and think he’s right in a bunch of what he’s saying (I agree with what he has to say about the absurdity of “exclusives” and the sickeningly fast pace that twitter has introduced into rock criticism.), but I’ve got to call bullshit on some points.

    1) First off, Weingarten used to drum for Parts and Labor, a band I love dearly and who I found out about through MP3 blogs. Natch.

    2) I think he’s barking up the wrong tree if he’s seriously trying to make the argument that bloggers are more constrained in what music they’re covering than print magazine writers. Print magazines, in many cases are so close to folding that they’ll constantly walking on eggshells re:content. Most bloggers I know, on the other hand, are not blogging as a profession- they’re doing it on their free time because they love the music. As someone who owns a blog, I can say it’s nice to see days where my hit count eeks over 100 page views per day, but I (and I can only assume all but a select few extremely popular bloggers) don’t live and die by how many people are reading what they’re posting.

    3) I think the point about the lack of negative criticism again misses the point of blogs. If you’re getting paid to write about music, they you’ve got an obligation to review whatever is thrown your way. As a blogger, I’m under no obligation to review or mention any of links, songs, album art, or other nonsense that I get e-mailed every day. I think, rather than being a bold and brave move to shit talk crappy songs on blogs, that it’s often too easy to take potshots. Weingarten is right about the purpose of music blogs- they are designed- their baseline is to post music and talk about it. They are not set up like magazines or webzines, formats which lend themselves to reviews, features, and other material: the design of most blogs is 10 posts on a page + a masthead. If the goal of a site is to post music and talk about the music you’re posting, then it seems pretty pointless to talk about songs you don’t like, and then post a link to a song you’re telling people not to download.

    4) The one other issue I have with Weingarten’s critique of blogs is the supposed uniformity that they are forcing upon listeners. Bullshit. Just because Stereogum posts a Broken Social Scene song, then MBV posts the same Broken Social Scene song, then 50 other music blogs post the exact same song with the same promo picture above the MP3 link doesn’t mean that Swedesplease, a blog that only covers Swedish pop, or Locust St, a blog that focuses on charting the history of America music from the early 1900s onward or Can You See The Sunset From The Southside, probably the most mature authority on Pop-Punk, or Done Waiting which focuses solely on the surprisingly diverse music scene of Columbus Ohio don’t also exist, and that those blogs are posting a plethora of different genres and era’s of music. A lazy music fan is going to be lazy, but for anyone interested in probably most genres of music ever, well, there’s a blog for that.

  5. trendwhore.ca » good writing dies with search engine optimization // montreal // music // blog says:

    [...] Watch this as well [...]

  6. Adam says:

    Okay, dude has a lot of points. Most of what he says is TRUE, but….. change and adapt. The world keeps changing. The way people find, access and consume new music will continue to change and move towards “the lowest common denominator.” If you can’t go with the changes you’ll fall to wayside. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes.

  7. For those about to blog says:

    [...] Sostiene Weingarten che il SEO – la search engine optimization, ovvero l’ottimizzazione delle pagine internet per farle apparire in cima alle ricerche di Google – stia ammazzando la critica musicale. E’ tutta una questione di numeri, ormai: chi scrive prima, il voto che si dà al disco, e così via. Non c’è più bisogno di approfondimento, di contestualizzazione. [...]

  8. Andrew says:

    This guy makes a good point about how the search engines are optimized for math games instead of quality. But………. search engine companies only do what is most profitable. If our culture turns around and generic pop crap like Justin Bieber, Kid Cudi, etc isn’t accepted by the masses, then guess what? Now quality music becomes more popular and the search engine thing is no longer a problem. I think blaming Twitter or search engines is overlooking the root of the problem, which is that most people care more about band image and popularity than band quality.

    As for the magazines who are talking about non music related things, there’s a simple solution….. stop buying the damn magazines! As for his bit about the bands spending so much time marketing that they have less time for music….. it’s a fact of life that right now shitty bands are shamelessly self-promoting themselves and getting millions of people to hear their names. So if you’re a not shitty band or musician then if you do no marketing at all then your music will never be heard past the constant drone of mediocrity. Find a balance that works for you. You’ll never be able to out-market T-Pain, but you probably will be able to produce music that lasts longer and inspires more people than his digitized robot music.

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