Sometimes you wake up and it is Christmas. Sometimes you wake up and it's time to get a cavity filled. Sometimes you wake up and several of your favorite artists have signed deals to write original material for Twilight: New Moon
. Sometimes, you wake up and your favorite pop music blog has a great staff. And sometimes, they leave. That is life, kids. Not all your XBox 360's can come with Lego Star Wars
. But I'm not talking about video games, I'm talking about the music blog Idolator
Last week, an extreme internet backlash was (somewhat hilariously) wrought upon Idolator, the most well respected (in this editors opinion) pop music blog (well, it was
the most well respected). Yeah over here at Baeble we deal mostly in the "indie" circle, along the lines of Stereogum and Jerkfork and the like, but Idolator provided the flip side of the music world, the Billboard smashing, radio friendly GaGa element that we tend to ignore in our diatribes. Now that the lovely and insightful Maura Johnston has left the blog, and been replaced by two lesser knowns, who failed to introduce themselves before The Daily Swarm
could introduce them for us
. Being a music blogger who no one really knows about, I feel for these guys. Maura had some big shoes to fill. But I feel forced to ask, are they even trying?
Admittedly, they are creating a HUGE commenter backlash. Many people admit to only coming back to the site to read the range of bashing in the comments section. Many of the comments zoom in on the "snarky" copy and lack of analysis, logic, or even coherent conclusions. Some speculated that these two were actually robots. One (or maybe more than one) disgruntled reader is hell-bent on hammering this in with frequent, caps-locked commentary about the frequency of less-than interesting subjects ("ZOMBIEBOT LOVE THUMPER POSTS AS MUCH AS JUSTIN BIEBER BEATBOXING!!!"). And mysterious commenter "brasstax" has been leading the charge, although his stance has softened a bit since last week.
It is tough to defend spelling errors and sub-par grammar, not to mention a severe lack of fact-checking. But many readers don't understand that a lot of bloggers don't have fact-checkers or editors to check our work. Then again, Maura seemed to get along just fine without a support staff, and though her posts were not as frequent as the new crew, they were often well researched and insightful. I think the problem is that a professional journalist has been replaced with a couple of bloggers. That is what the evil conglomerate Buzznet wants for it's pop blog, and that is what readers will have to deal with from now on. Maura, as well as other former Idolators, still lurk in the shadows of the internet, and keeping up with them is as easy as a Twitter account.
My real problem here is a big picture. Look at what happened: a professional, smart, and reliable source decided she was better off without the free information destination she helped start. She was replaced by two young, ambitious, but amateurish "bloggers" who are either taking SEO orders, or simply don't care about analysis. Idolator, one of the last great sources for mainstream music news, turned into the Gawker of the music world (full irony disclosure: Gawker Media once owned Idolator). If the ubiquitous nature of the music blog continues, then our main sources of reliable music news will ultimately become watered down second-hand sources, and it may not end there. As information disseminates quicker, and everyone decides they can be a gatekeeper, the floodgates are opening, and accountability is being lost. Media moguls want cheaper content, and it looks like it may be at the cost of quality. Many journalists are fleeing the blogosphere. Times are tough.
On a brighter note, Twitter allows all of us to keep up with some of the greats of the music journalist world. The original Idolator team all dwell there, so go follow them; they continue to produce insightful work. I've listed a few of their names below:
Maura Johnston - @maura
Chris Molanphy (the chart guy)- @cmolanphy
Chris Weingarten - @1000timesyes
Feel free to follow me as well, you guys. @joefi
. I'm usually only insightful when it comes to sandwiches, but I tweet about other things sometimes!
Together we'll get through this. RIP old Idolator. We will remember you fondly. -joe puglisi