Type of site
|Online music magazine|
|Created by||Ryan Schreiber|
Pitchfork is an American online magazine launched in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, based in Chicago, Illinois, and owned by Condé Nast. Being developed during Schreiber's tenure in a record store at the time, the magazine developed a reputation for its extensive focus on independent music, but has since expanded to a variety of coverage on both indie and popular music.
An online magazine is a magazine published on the Internet, through bulletin board systems and other forms of public computer networks. One of the first magazines to convert from a print magazine format to being online only was the computer magazine Datamation.
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. As of the 2017 census-estimate, it has a population of 2,716,450, which makes it the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the 5th largest Gross Domestic Product by state, is the 6th-most populous U.S. state and 25th-largest state in terms of land area. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in northern and central Illinois, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, contains over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports around the world from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway on the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.
The site generally concentrates on new music, but Pitchfork journalists have also reviewed reissues and box sets. Since 2016, it publishes retrospective reviews of classic or otherwise important albums every Sunday. The site has also published "best-of" lists – such as the best albums of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and the best songs of the 1960s – as well as annual features detailing the best albums and tracks of each year since 1999 (and a retrospective Best Albums of 1998 list in 2018).
In the music industry, a reissue is the release of an album or single which has been released at least once before, sometimes with alterations or additions.
A box set or boxed set is a set of items packaged in a box, for sale as a single unit.
By the end of 2019, Pitchfork will be put behind a paywall.
A paywall is a method of restricting access to content via a paid subscription. Beginning in the mid-2010s, newspapers started implementing paywalls on their websites as a way to increase revenue after years of decline in paid print readership and advertising revenue. In academics, research papers are often subject to a paywall and are available via academic libraries that subscribe.
In late 1995, Ryan Schreiber, a recent high school graduate, created the magazine in Minneapolis. Influenced by local fanzines and KUOM, Schreiber, who had no previous writing experience, aimed to provide the Internet with a regularly updated resource for independent music. Initially called Turntable, the site was updated monthly with interviews and reviews. In May 1996, the site began publishing daily and was renamed Pitchfork, alluding to Tony Montana's tattoo in Scarface .
Minneapolis is the county seat of Hennepin County and the larger of the Twin Cities, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2017, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 45th-largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 422,331. The Twin Cities metropolitan area consists of Minneapolis, its neighbor Saint Paul, and suburbs which altogether contain about 3.6 million people, and is the third-largest economic center in the Midwest.
A fanzine is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest. The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and first popularized within science fiction fandom, and from there it was adopted by other communities.
KUOM is a student-run non-commercial educational radio station, licensed to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis. The station's programming, branded as Radio K, was recognized as the "best radio station of the Twin Cities" in 2010, 2013, and 2015 by City Pages editors.
In early 1999, Schreiber relocated Pitchfork to Chicago, Illinois. By then, the site had expanded to four full-length album reviews daily, as well as sporadic interviews, features, and columns. It had also begun garnering a following for its extensive coverage of underground music and its writing style, which was often unhindered by the conventions of journalism. In October, the site added a daily music news section.[ citation needed ]
Underground music comprises musical genres beyond mainstream culture. Any song that is not being legally commercialized is considered underground.
Journalism refers to the production and distribution of reports on recent events. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as citizen journalists using methods of gathering information and using literary techniques. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and, in the past, newsreels.
Pitchfork has launched a variety of subsidiary websites. Pitchfork.tv, a website displaying videos related to many independent music acts, launched in April 2008. It features bands that are typically found on Pitchfork .[ citation needed ] In July 2010, Pitchfork announced Altered Zones, a blog aggregator devoted to underground and do it yourself music. On 21 May 2011, Pitchfork announced a partnership with Kill Screen, in which Pitchfork would publish some of their articles. Altered Zones was closed on November 30. On December 26, 2012, Pitchfork launched Nothing Major, a website that covered visual arts such as fine art and photography. Nothing Major closed in October 2013. On October 13, 2015, Condé Nast announced that it had acquired Pitchfork. Following the sale, Schreiber remained as editor-in-chief.
"Do it yourself" ("DIY") is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals. Academic research describes DIY as behaviors where "individuals engage raw and semi-raw materials and parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment ". DIY behavior can be triggered by various motivations previously categorized as marketplace motivations, and identity enhancement.
Kill Screen was a print and online magazine founded in 2009 by Jamin Warren and Chris Dahlen and owned by Kill Screen Media, Inc. It focused on video games and culture, but also included articles based on entertainment. The name is based on the infamous video game term of the same name.
Condé Nast Inc. is an American mass media company founded in 1909 by Condé Montrose Nast, based at One World Trade Center and owned by Advance Publications.
On March 13, 2016, Pitchfork was redesigned. According to an announcement post during the redesign, they said:
|“||We last redesigned in the fall of 2011. A lot about the online world has changed since then. This iteration, more than a year in the making, brings Pitchfork into a new era, improving functionality and inviting deeper exploration while simplifying the experience to make browsing, searching, reading, listening, and watching easier.||”|
In August 2018, Pitchfork's longtime executive editor Mark Richardson stepped down. He began writing for the site in 1998 and was employed full-time in 2007.
On September 18, 2018, founder Ryan Schreiber stepped down as the site's top editor. He was replaced by Puja Patel as editor-in-chief on October 15, 2018.
On January 8, 2019, Schreiber announced he would be exiting the company.
In January 2019, Condé Nast announced it will put all its titles behind a paywall by the end of the year, which includes Pitchfork.
Pitchfork's opinions have gained increased cultural currency; some in the mainstream media view the site as a barometer of the independent music scene, and positive quotes from its reviews are increasingly used in press releases and affixed to the front of CDs.
Some publicationshave cited Pitchfork in having played a part in "breaking" artists such as Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Interpol, The Go! Team, Junior Boys, The Books, Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Wolf Parade, Tapes 'n Tapes, and Titus Andronicus although the site's true impact on their popularity remains a source of frequent debate.
Conversely, Pitchfork has also been seen as being a negative influence on some indie artists. As suggested in a Washington Post article in April 2006, Pitchfork's reviews can have a significant influence on an album's popularity, especially if it had only been available to a limited audience or had been released on an independent record label. A dismissive 0.0 review of former Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison's Travistan album led to a large sales drop and a virtual college radio blacklist. On the other hand, "an endorsement from Pitchfork—which dispenses its approval one-tenth of a point at a time, up to a maximum of 10 points—is very valuable, indeed."
Examples of Pitchfork's impact include:
Pitchfork now receives an audience of more than 240,000 readers per day, and more than 1.5 million unique visitors per month, making it the most popular independent-focused music publication online.On October 24, 2003, the author of Pitchformula.com reported that Pitchfork had published 5,575 reviews from 158 different authors, with an average length of just over 520 words. Together, the reviews featured a total of 2,901,650 words.
In the 2000s the website's journalism favored independent music, favoring lo-fi and often obscure indie rock and giving only cursory treatment to other genres.The website had a reputation for publishing reviews early and for being unpredictable, often strongly dependent on the reviewer's personal reaction. In a 2006 article in Slate , Matthew Shaer accused Pitchfork of deliberately writing provocative and contrarian reviews in order to attract attention.
The website was criticized in those years for the quality of its writing. A 2006 article in City Pages noted the large discretion the site gave to its writers, arguing it was "under-edited" and that the prose was often "overly florid".Shaer singled out some examples of "verbose and unreadable writing". In response, Schreiber told City Pages that "I trust the writers to their opinions and to their own style and presentation. The most important thing to me is they know what they're talking about and are insightful."
In August 2006, a directory on Pitchfork's servers containing over 300 albums was compromised. A web surfer managed to discover and download the collection, which included The Decemberists' The Crane Wife and TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain , both of which had been leaked to peer-to-peer networks. Allegedly, one of the albums on the server, Joanna Newsom's Ys , had not been available on file-sharing networks.
Pitchfork has been criticized directly by artists for misrepresentation, most famously in 2007 by the artist M.I.A. for what one of their writers later described as "perpetuating the male-led ingenue myth" with regard to her work. 's articles on M.I.A. and her career since the incident have been noticeably negative and have attracted media commentary; an article titled "M.I.A. Uses Pitchfork Tweets to Diss Pitchfork" was printed by LA Weekly in 2010.Some have argued this is not isolated to Pitchfork in the music press, while this incident was later cited by Björk, who criticized the site for assuming female musicians do not usually write or produce their own music. Pitchfork
In December 2013, Pitchfork Media debuted The Pitchfork Review, a quarterly print journal focused on long-form music writing and design-focused content.J. C. Gabel, its first editor, had been the publisher of The Chicagoan and founding publisher of Stop Smiling . Pitchfork planned a limited-edition quarterly publication of about 10,000 copies of each issue, perfect bound, and printed on glossy, high-quality 8-by-10¼ paper. It was expected that about two-thirds of the content would be original, with the remaining one-third recycled from the Pitchfork website. The International Business Times likened the publication's literary aspirations to The New Yorker and The Paris Review .
In 2005, Pitchfork curated the Intonation Music Festival, attracting approximately 15,000 attendees to Chicago's Union Park for a two-day bill featuring performances by 25 acts, including Broken Social Scene, The Decemberists, The Go! Team, and an appearance by Les Savy Fav.
On July 29 and 30, 2006, the publication premiered its own Pitchfork Music Festival in the same park. The event attracted over 18,000 attendees per day. More than 40 bands performed at the inaugural festival, including Spoon and Yo La Tengo, as well as a rare headlining set by reunited Tropicália band Os Mutantes.
The Pitchfork Music Festival was held again in 2007. It was expanded to three days (Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15), with the first day being a collaboration between Pitchfork and the British music festival All Tomorrow's Parties as part of the latter's "Don't Look Back" series, in which seminal artists perform their most legendary albums in their entirety. Performers that evening included Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation , Slint playing Spiderland , and GZA/Genius playing Liquid Swords . Some of the other artists who performed over the weekend included Yoko Ono, De La Soul, Cat Power, The New Pornographers, Stephen Malkmus, Clipse, Iron & Wine, Girl Talk, Of Montreal, Deerhunter, Dan Deacon, The Ponys, and The Sea and Cake. Since 2011, a European winter edition of the festival takes place in Paris.
In 2008 Pitchfork collaborated with All Tomorrow's Parties to curate half of the bill for one of their May festival weekends. This was the first event that Pitchfork has been involved in outside of the United States.
Pitchfork's music reviews use two different rating systems:
On October 24, 2003, Pitchformula.commade a survey of the 5,575 reviews available on Pitchfork at that time, showing that:
British Sea Power's 2008 album Do You Like Rock Music? was initially awarded a tongue-in-cheek rating of "U.2", however the page now gives a rating of 8.2, seemingly at odds with the critical review. ' actual score reveals the score to be 5.0. Rather than give a proper review to Jet's Shine On , the site simply posted an embedded video of a monkey urinating into its own mouth and a 0.Their rating of Run the Jewels' remix album Meow the Jewels (2015) was a pictogram of a cat's head with hearts for eyes – highlighting the pictogram and right-clicking on it reveals that the actual score is 7.0. Their review of Pope Francis' album Wake Up! featured the rating "3:16," though using the same method of revealing Meow the Jewels
The following is a list of albums given Pitchfork's highest possible rating, on initial release. The score is rare and has only been given to eleven albums since the site was launched in 1995. Many more albums have been given a 10 on re-release. Note that Pitchfork has since deleted the reviews for 12 Rods, Amon Tobin, Walt Mink, The Flaming Lips, and Bob Dylan without replacing them with newer reviews, effectively reducing the canon of albums that Pitchfork still considers to be worthy of a 10.0 on initial release to six albums.
Relaxation of the Asshole , a comedy album by Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard, was awarded a dual 0 and 10 on initial release. A later site redesign changed the rating to 0 only, although the explanation for the unusual rating remains in the text of the review.
|...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead||Source Tags & Codes||2002|
|Bob Dylan||The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert||1998|
|Bonnie 'Prince' Billy||I See a Darkness||1999|
|The Flaming Lips||The Soft Bulletin|
|Kanye West||My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy||2010|
|Walt Mink||El Producto||1996|
|Wilco||Yankee Hotel Foxtrot||2002|
|1999||The Dismemberment Plan||Emergency & I|
|2001||The Microphones||The Glow Pt. 2|
|2002||Interpol||Turn On the Bright Lights|
|2006||The Knife||Silent Shout|
|2007||Panda Bear||Person Pitch|
|2008||Fleet Foxes||Sun Giant / Fleet Foxes|
|2009||Animal Collective||Merriweather Post Pavilion|
|2010||Kanye West||My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy|
|2011||Bon Iver||Bon Iver, Bon Iver|
|2012||Kendrick Lamar||Good Kid, M.A.A.D City|
|2013||Vampire Weekend||Modern Vampires of the City|
|2014||Run the Jewels||Run the Jewels 2|
|2015||Kendrick Lamar||To Pimp a Butterfly|
|2016||Solange||A Seat at the Table|
|2018||Mitski||Be the Cowboy|
|2005||Antony and the Johnsons||"Hope There's Someone"|
|2006||Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.||"My Love"|
|2007||LCD Soundsystem||"All My Friends"|
|2008||Hercules and Love Affair||"Blind"|
|2009||Animal Collective||"My Girls"|
|2010||Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti||"Round and Round"|
|2013||Drake featuring Majid Jordan||"Hold On, We're Going Home"|
|2014||Future Islands||"Seasons (Waiting on You)"|
|2016||Kanye West featuring The-Dream, Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, and Kirk Franklin||"Ultralight Beam"|
|2017||Cardi B||"Bodak Yellow"|
|2018||The 1975||"Love It If We Made It"|
|2018||Rosalía||"Malamente – Cap 1: Augurio"|
Slanted and Enchanted is the debut studio album by American indie rock band Pavement, released in April 1992 on Matador Records.
The Milk-Eyed Mender is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom, released on March 23, 2004 on the Drag City label.
You Forgot It in People is the second studio album by Canadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene, released on October 15, 2002. It followed Feel Good Lost, and was the band's commercial breakthrough. You Forgot It in People features intricate, experimental production techniques and a large number of instruments coinciding with the band's vastly expanded size. Local hype for the album was so big that initial pressings sold out quickly, causing the need for a 2003 reissue.
Twin Cinema is the third studio album by Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers. It was released on August 23, 2005. The album was shortlisted for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize. As of 2010 it has sold 138,000 copies in US and 20,000 copies in Canada.
Bon Appétit is an American food and entertaining magazine that is published monthly by Condé Nast. It was started in 1956 and became a bimonthly magazine in December 1956 in Chicago. The magazine was acquired by M. Frank Jones in Kansas City, Missouri in 1965. Jones was owner, editor and publisher until 1970, when Bon Appétit was merged into the Pillsbury Company, who sold it to Knapp Communications, publishers of Architectural Digest, four years later. Condé Nast Publications, the current owners, purchased Knapp Communications in 1993. Its sister publication was Gourmet, before the latter was discontinued in October 2009. The magazine's headquarters, which had been in Los Angeles, CA, were moved to New York City in early 2011.
The discography of Modest Mouse, an American indie rock band, consists of six studio albums, six extended plays, two compilation albums, four lo-fi cassette releases, one live album, twenty-five singles, and nine reissues. Three of their releases have been certified at least Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments in excess of 500,000 copies; one of these releases has further been certified Platinum, for shipments in excess of 1,000,000 copies.
"Lost in the World" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kanye West from his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). The song features vocals by Justin Vernon of indie folk band Bon Iver, as well as sampling his 2009 song "Woods". It also contains portions of "Soul Makossa" written by Manu Dibango, and samples of "Comment No. 1", performed by Gil Scott-Heron. It was produced by West and Jeff Bhasker, who wrote the track with Vernon and Malik Jones. "Lost in the World" was initially leaked on September 29, 2010 and was 6 minutes and 4 seconds long. The version on the album was split up into two parts, with the outro becoming a new track entitled "Who Will Survive in America".
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The name "Bon Iver" derives from the French phrase bon hiver, taken from a greeting on Northern Exposure.
Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer. He is best known as the primary songwriter and frontman of indie folk band Bon Iver. Vernon is also a member of the bands Volcano Choir, Big Red Machine, The Shouting Matches, and Gayngs. He was previously a member of the now-defunct band DeYarmond Edison.
For Emma, Forever Ago is the debut studio album by American indie folk band Bon Iver. It was first self-released in July 2007, and later saw wide release on the Jagjaguwar label in February 2008. The album is principally the work of singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. Whilst living in Raleigh, North Carolina, Vernon fell ill with mononucleosis and a liver infection, and grew frustrated with his songwriting and life. He left Raleigh and drove to his father's remote hunting cabin an hour northwest of his hometown, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hoping to be alone.
Blood Bank is a 2009 EP by Bon Iver. It was released on January 20, 2009, and features four tracks, three of them recorded for the release. The EP is a follow-up to the band's award-winning debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, self-released in 2007 by Bon Iver frontman and founder Justin Vernon, and re-released in 2008.
Sputnikmusic is a music community website offering music criticism and music news alongside features commonly associated with wiki-style websites. The format of the website is unusual in that it includes both professional and amateur content, distinguishing it from professionally written music websites such as Pitchfork Media and Tiny Mix Tapes, as well as collecting and presenting a wiki-style metadata database in a manner comparable to Rate Your Music and Discogs.
James Blake Litherland is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer from London. He first received recognition for a series of 2010 EPs including CMYK and Klavierwerke, and he released his self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical praise. His second album Overgrown was released in 2013 and awarded the Mercury Prize. He released his third album The Colour in Anything in 2016. His fourth album Assume Form was released in 2019.
Bon Iver is the second studio album from American indie folk band Bon Iver, released on June 17, 2011. The album is composed of 10 songs and was seen as a new musical direction for the band.
"Skinny Love" is a song written by American musician and songwriter Justin Vernon. It was originally released by the indie folk band Bon Iver, of which Vernon is a member, in 2007. A cover version by the British vocalist Birdy was released in 2011. Both versions charted internationally and have been featured in multiple television and film soundtracks. The song has since become a popular tune for various singing competition shows around the anglophone world.
House of Balloons is the debut mixtape by Canadian singer The Weeknd. It was released as a free download on March 21, 2011, by XO. The mixtape was also released on his official website. Its music incorporates electronic and urban genres, including R&B and soul, along with trip hop, indie rock and dream pop tones. The contributions to the mixtape's production came from Canadian record producers such as Doc McKinney, Zodiac and Illangelo, among others.
"Holocene" is a song by American indie folk band Bon Iver. It was released as the second single from their eponymous album Bon Iver, Bon Iver on September 5, 2011. The single is backed with a cover of Peter Gabriel's song "Come Talk to Me" as a B-side, which was previously released as a limited edition song for Record Store Day. The song was named one of the best songs of 2011 by various music publications. It was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year for the 54th Grammy Awards, and is featured in the Cameron Crowe film We Bought a Zoo, Zach Braff's film Wish I Was Here, and the 2014 film The Judge.
American band Death Grips has released six studio albums, one compilation album, three extended plays (EPs), one mixtape, seven singles, eight promotional singles, three remixes, and 47 music videos. The band was formed by MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin in Sacramento, California during the winter of 2010. In March 2011, they released their eponymous debut EP. Their mixtape Exmilitary followed a month later and was praised by contemporary music critics. Death Grips signed a record deal with Epic Records in early 2012 and their debut studio album The Money Store was released in April to critical acclaim, peaking at number 130 on the Billboard 200 chart. Because Epic Records would not confirm a release date for their second studio album No Love Deep Web before 2013, Death Grips self-released the album in October 2012. As a result of this and the ensuing conflict between the band and the record label, Death Grips was dropped by Epic Records. No Love Deep Web received positive reviews and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
22, A Million is the third studio album by American indie folk band Bon Iver, released on September 30, 2016. It was recorded in Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and marked a shift in the band's sound, incorporating elements of electronic music and hip-hop production, and making extensive use of samples, synths, and effects. Vernon has stated that many of the sounds on the record were created and manipulated using a Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer, along with software designed especially for the band by Chris Messina, dubbed the "Messina."