musical portalopolies

Pitchfork.tv launched today. Is it the seed of a portalopoly mentality in the music press, or the music business at large? It's interesting, because music is often slotted in amongst a variety of other lifestyle garnishings on terrible 'on demand', content-streamining web portals, but to an extend Pitchfork have inverted the framework. Their network seems to say: "music is central to our audience, and therefore will provide across the spectrum of music promotion". With the launch of this narrowcast, they now provide music news, reviews, interviews, op-ed pieces, streaming and downloadable tracks, it's own music festival, advertisement opportunities, and now of course a visual component that will in some way recombine all of the already listed.

It would be fruitful to study how the site disavows its obvious 'big media' structure with standard indie discourses. But one thing is for sure: Pitchfork demonstrates how indie music (press and bands) are now a major organ of the music industry as a whole, in fact they may now be at the forefront of its developments (Radiohead model, anyone?).

It will be interesting to see whether Pitchfork.tv platform will be successful, as it certainly requires a good deal of attention from a web audience habituated to distraction and fragmented reading practices. Having said that, the site of course works on the principals of visual internet media that are sure to dice programming into bite-sized pieces. Nevertheless, the principal of 'less content, more structure' seems to reign here - how will YouTube audiences take to this?

Another interesting aspect is what looks like the fairly high-quality resolution of the videos - will this preclude interest in some way?

And the fact that it offers almost completely original content puts it in good stead too, as so often other portals simply work as just that - portals to other contents - or as pattern repeaters.

I hate to say it, but I'm thinking MTV 2.0 - with all the allusions that term brings up.

Update: Stereogum come late to the party!

2 riffs:

James said...

Apart from the fact that I love the tunes on Pitchfork to no end, I can totally see where you're going with the MTV 2.0 line.

In fact despite being wowed and gawking at the fact that 'the background swings around behind the video' OMGZORZ!! I can definitely see the 'brand' of pitchfork rising out of the ashes of a quality music website. I guess only time will tell whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing.

That being said, focusing on the video streaming I think it will work because pitchfork are building on an established and defined audience and their changes have been slow and gradual. Video on the net ain't new, but they breathed and waited till they had a quality site before they tore off on the video bandwagon.

Also I've always been a believer in good content not lots of content. Youtube is an awesome place to find everything you want as well as everything you don't need. A good website, as pitchfork has repeatedly shown is something which hunts down that shit for you - forkcast being the best example.

I think the lack of content will be ignored because of the quality of videos, uniqueness of content (Chris Anderson talks about niche markets being actually viable on the web - it's interesting to compare pitchfork.tv to rage or video hits. This so wouldn't have been possible before.) and the established audience willing to follow where pitchfork goes.

it's yet another string to pitchfork's ever expanding bow but I'm questioning it's role in the internet music community more generally now. It's definitely has become more than just a site. Will it end up in MTV land?

James said...

Seen this man?