Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Music Mags Are Tanking, But Online-Only Publication Pitchfork is Thriving

Several major, slick, once heavily funded general-interest music magazines have tanked - R.I.P., Vibe and Blender.

But the online-only publication Pitchfork Media is thriving, according to a piece published in Forbes.

Pitchfork, celebrating its 13th anniversary this year, gets 1.8 million visitors a month, on average. Median age of readers: 26. The publication, with a full-time staff of 17, is based in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

The really telling detail: Pitchfork, whose advertisers include Toyota and Apple, pays writers $80 to $110 per CD review, or twice (and more) the fee reviewers get at some well-established jazz magazines.

Each week, 25 new album reviews are posted. Each day, on average, 15 news items and 15 track reviews are posted.

"Pitchfork sees future growth in a recently launched streaming channel on the site, which includes staff-chosen music videos, video documentaries and interviews with members of U2 and MIA, says Pitchfork publisher Christopher Kaskie," according to the story, written by Dirk Smillie. "The site may soon pipe content onto mobile platforms too."

So here it is, a working model of a music publication that is doing more than surviving the downturn in the publishing industry (and, of course, the Great Recession) - it's thriving.

Are Rolling Stone and Spin, still hanging around in print (with online adjuncts), taking notice?

How about the jazz mags? How about the late, great No Depression (which still exists as a community of fans, with archived material from the print mag)?

Read the rest of the Forbes piece here.

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