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What’s Next for Music Criticism?

While I’m pret­ty sure some of the arti­cles pro­nounc­ing music crit­i­cism dead have reached puber­ty at this point, there remains an open ques­tion of its val­ue (and virtue). Is it pos­si­ble that the future of music crit­i­cism isn’t writ­ten? That’s not a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion. Is it pos­si­ble that the future of music crit­i­cism is…vlogging?

I’ll start with Antho­ny Fan­tano of The Nee­dle Drop. Antho­ny, the self-pro­claimed Inter­net’s busiest music nerd, cranks through tons of reviews and posts them on YouTube. It’s per­fect bite-sized con­tent that uncov­ers some records that may not get as much atten­tion buried in the fourth and fifth slot in a dai­ly rota­tion. A pret­ty nov­el con­tent strat­e­gy when every­one says they’re inun­dat­ed, no?

Chris Ott is tak­ing a decid­ed­ly dif­fer­ent approach. His Vimeo chan­nel, Shal­low Rewards, is music crit­i­cism the way I remem­ber it; equal parts oral his­to­ry, hagiog­ra­phy and rit­u­al sac­ri­fice. I’m still in awe of his two-part series on shoegaze. If you’re some­one who is old enough to remem­ber the free asso­cia­tive spir­it that made music crit­i­cism mag­i­cal for many of us, you’ll want to watch every week.

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