That’s the opinion of this Daily Beast writer, anyway–and he makes some good points.
I’ve just spent a very depressing afternoon looking through the leading music periodicals. And what did I learn? Pretty much what I expected. I found out what the chart-topping musicians are wearing (or, in many instances, not wearing). I got updates on their love life, and learned whose marriages are on the rocks. I read updates on the legal proceedings of the rich and famous. I got insights into the food preferences and travel routines of megastars. And I read some reviews of albums, and got told by “‘critics” (I use that term loosely) that they were “badass,” “hot,” “sexy,” “tripped-out,” and “freaky.”
Here’s my theory on why there’s been a decline in the quality music writing. (1) Publications are suffering and aren’t willing to pay living wages to serious, qualified, trained music journalists anymore so they’re leaving the business; (2) Anyone can start a website that reviews music; (3) The number of critics (real and wannabe) is far greater than the number of paying jobs. Many are willing to write for others for free just for a chance at being heard. This isn’t always a bad thing–hell, I do it and people do it for me on this site–but overall it’s hard to advance the cause of music writing and criticism this way; and (4) We’re living in a celebrity-obsessed TMZ-powered culture where style trumps substance like never before.
Anyone wanna argue?