Everything in the below video rant sounds accurate.
The scene falls apart because of money. The boomerang of nostalgia comes back faster nowadays, so they’re already making the documentary before things are quite done, and people slightly over 30 are stroking their beards and reminiscing about the good old days.
I’m surprised by the surprise, though (shocked… shocked!). Of course Pitchfork is an advertising company. Of course they want to eat scenes and shit out money. And if you’re in the arts business, the worst people you’ll meet will be the hip and cool ones who say they’re in it for the esthetics. They’re deadly. So now it’s a website-based media company instead of Dick Clark or Viacom. Makes sense. Sorry about your scene. It’s a cliché, though. It happens to everyone.
In another town, some kids are jamming in basements and back yards, making their own scene, and it sounds great. Don’t worry, that can’t be stopped. It’s cooler than either one of us will ever be. Personally I can’t wait to hear it.
4 thoughts on “In which it is re-discovered that the record company and the promoter suck, except this time they’re Pitchfork.”
What the hey was that video? I couldn’t make it past one minute. One thing I worry about a bit is the future of editorializing and curating music. Supposedly record labels and promoters have been doing that (though it’s been a lot of vanilla, mainstream crap in the past decade). The internet puts much more unknown music at your fingertips, but that’s much more crappy garage music to slog through to find the good stuff. In theory, people with an inclination to organize and curate will rise to do that, but as yet, I don’t really see that happening. I guess back in the day, underground music circulated on cassette, under the radar, but I don’t see much equivalent behavior these days. Or maybe I’m just too old now to be a part of word-of-mouth music promotion.
Looking at the Pitchfork site, I feel like I’m suddenly trapped inside the Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood in 1995.
Ya know, I been thinkin. A scene is almost always just going to eat itself.
If something is good, eventually word of it is going to get out.
And then it’s dancing on a razor’s edge:
Go one way and you have more mass appeal, and which point you spiral into pop dumbness (I heard there’s this place with GREAT music, it’s called Ibiza!!; aka “nobody goes there anymore– it’s too crowded!”)…
Or go the other way, and you stay so small that eventually two or three mundanities just sync up and that makes it evaporate: somebody forgets to pay a phone bill, or somebody gets promoted at their previously jerkoff day job, or somebody has a kid, or rent goes up, or someone has a significant illness, or someone’s drinking/drug habit stops being amusing as it rolls into its fifth year, or somebody has a new boyfriend/girlfriend and people rub eachother the wrong way.
Or even if *the weather* is so shitty for two months straight that nobody wants to come out, that alone can snap things like a twig. “Hey, where did everybody go?”
I’ve even just seen *road construction* in an inopportune place do that.
Or it becomes institutionalized as being so great because it was where all those great people *got their start* but *now* it’s all people who are there because they want to get *their* start…
Or it becomes Perpetually Fantastically Original *Exactly Like* The Last Time, Forever.
* On hiatus for long enough that when you come back, you realize it was for too long. And a reboot. (Featuring: “Jesuschrist, dude, why are you playing like that, what do you think this is, 2010?” “Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but our last album was in 2008.” “Oh shit.” “Yeah.”)
* There Was A Big Fight, and over time as the exact urgencies and details of it fade in people’s minds, that could be replaced by “I dunno, we were probably just angry drunks, so it doesn’t matter– but the sheer fact that we haven’t talked in ages would be just hang like a pall over any attempt at casually talking again– especially if we suddenly *do* remember what the fight was about.”
Or it could be replaced by everyone totally solidifying their opinion of eachother as horrible horrible people, and the question of why they previously got along so well, those years ago, gets retconned as “THAT WAS BEFORE I REALIZED IT WAS ALL A LIE, MAN, ALL A LIE!!!”.
(Ask anyone who has had a show on public radio.)
And a certain song has somewhat of a point when it says: “keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved.”
And none of these problems require Pitchfork to ruin things.
The saddest buzzkill for a scene: the equivalent of when the conversations in a restaurant full of people all happen to have a pause at the same moment, and there’s that collective tic of “wait, everything’s still fun and great, right? I mean, right??”