Pitchfork Goes 'Zine With The Pitchfork Review
After eighteen years at the forefront of online music journalism and criticism, Pitchfork has finally decided to cement itself as a purveyor of a quarterly print magazine. Last night, Pitchfork held a launch party for the third edition of its glossy imprint, The Pitchfork Review at Housing Works Bookstore in Soho. The event featured all of the trappings of what we could expect from such an event -- readings about music and feelings from Pitchfork staffers and an acoustic set from Dee Dee Penny of the Dum Dum Girls. The event was simple, but one striking thing seemed to linger in the air last night, and it had nothing to do with the poignant readings or Dee Dee Penny's earnest folk songs. The real question was, and still is, why the hell is Pitchfork deciding to do print in 2014?
Credit: Sam Blum The cover of TPR's third issue
We all know the story: declining revenues and landmark layoffs in the newspaper and magazine industries, all predicated upon the rise of the digital-first media landscape, have made printing any kind of magazine, let alone a niche indie music publication, troublesome. SPIN stopped being a magazine in December 2012, and Rolling Stone has only really been saved by its legacy and prestige. So it's ironic, and seemingly more than a little counter-intuitive, to forge a glossy, high-end magazine in the age of digital disruption.
"It's definitely an experiment, and we're kind of trying to see if we can extend what we do online into the print realm and to see if it's sustainable," said Editor-in-Chief of Pitchfork.com, Mark Richardson.
But each issue of The Pitchfork Review is different from their online edition--there are no new album announcements or hot new artist advisories peppered throughout the book. Each issue is dense, artistically packaged and full of in-depth features, personal essays and musings on contemporary music. The Pitchfork Review is intended for shelving, so readers can skim the pages throughout the years.