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.