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Against The Odds, Pitchfork Goes Into Print

Going against the present trend, going against the present time when we see less and less printed publications and more and more online-only magazines, Pitchfork will launch soon the ‘Pitchfork Review’, a quarterly print journal! On December 14th, the company will start selling the journal ‘focused on longform music writing and design-focused content’.

This is so surprising since Pitchfork has always been an online thing and since many other music related publications have now stopped printing anything. Spin and Paste have stopped running in print respectively in 2012 and 2010 and there are not the only ones. All the music magazines are dying, printed press is doomed but Pitchfork thinks it can reinvent the print press as Pitchfork founder and CEO Ryan Schreiber explained to Fast Company:

‘There’s a lot of potential to rethink what people want out of a music magazine. The tide has really shifted since we started Pitchfork in the mid-’90s. Then, there was no music criticism online; now, there’s very little in print. There’s all kinds of talk about how physical media is dying, but the popularity of vinyl is rising, and there has been a rise in literary and culture publications. It’s not dead, it just needs substance.’

Substance? Meaning that none of the printed magazines which have now disappeared had any? They are probably happy to know this!

And Pitchfork has some ambitions, the journal will only be available at select booksellers and newsstands and will cost quite a lot: $44.99 for an annual subscription (if ordered prior to December 15th and $49.99 after this date), $19.96 for a single copy ‘in a nod to Pitchfork’s founding year’… you have to laugh at this one!

Naturally, Schreiber has a high opinion of his publication, which will focus on design, photography and of course writing: ‘The price point is in line with the literary and cultural journals that exist, like Monocle and Kinfolk. It will be substantial, printed on quality stock. With vinyl you’re paying more than a download, but it’s permanent and substantial.’

He should stop this comparison with vinyl! I believe it is a fade which will soon disappear, may be like his new magazine? Furthermore, Pitchfork has secured Converse as the sole sponsor and a partner for 2014, so that exclusive tracks, recorded at Converse’s Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn, will come with the journal.

‘We’ve enlisted seasoned writers who have experience in longform and narrative,’ continued Schreiber, ‘Magazines have lost their foothold on breaking news, so the original content in the Review is new but less time sensitive. It looks at current music but also catalog artists.’ […] ‘The Review “works in a more relaxed and engaged mode. There are distractions on the web; there’s a different mentality on sitting down with a book’.

I agree on this one, but nobody reads books anymore, right? At least physical books, I thought everyone was buying kindles and downloading eBooks now! ‘We’re not trying to be what music publications have traditionally been. We’re trying to break free from this constant racing to be first, which we do online’. Okay, we’ll see, Pitchfork has been a very successful site with more than 5 million visitors per month these days, but how could they succeed where everyone else has failed? But this cover looks like a auto-congratulating trophy received before the race.

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