Monday, September 11, 2006

From Living with His Parents to Life as a Hipster Tastemaker

While seeking inspiration for my first tentative steps into the blogosphere, I came across this article in the Minneapolis StarTribune about Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber (see picture). For those of you in the dark, Pitchfork is essentially an online music magazine dedicated to covering and reviewing indie music. Think of it as the Rolling Stone for my generation.

Ten years ago Schreiber was twenty-something slacker living in his parent's twin cites home when he decided to create a website dedicated to reviewing music by his favorite artists, today he oversees a website that generates in excess of 1.3 million unique visitors per month and is generally regarding as being a leading tastemaker for hipsters worldwide.

To view the impact of Pitchfork, one need look no further than Minneapolis band Tapes 'n Tapes. A year ago, the band was unsigned and struggling to support a self-released ablum. Then magic happened: a glowing pitchfork review. Bloggers across the globe spread the word, music fans turned to their favorite filesharing programs, and-before the bassist even had time to quite his job serving coffee to University of Minnesota law students-the band was playing David Letterman. All this at a time when the music industry is supposdly in dire straits because of the internet.

My point is this: technology ain't going backwards. As a society, we can either choose to embrace it (see Pitchfork, Tapes 'n Tapes) or shun it (see the RIAA's numerous efforts to restrict file sharing over internet). While I don't harbor any illusions about achieving the impact that Pitchfork has had, I hope this blog can serve as a neutral forum for law students (and others) across the country (and globe) to discuss the impact of societal and technological change on the law.


Blogger Kevin Wells said...

You're absolutely right that Pitchfork is one of the spearheads of the new tastemaking scene.

This month's Wired has an article about Pitchfork Media that discusses exactly these issues. In fact, this entire month's issue discusses the new face of music with the advent of technology. Especially interesting is the interview with Beck, whose album Guero (which is fantastic, by the way) is not the classic 13-track "album" that we are used to, but rather a compilation of tracks that can be rearranged by the consumer.

The RIAA is not necessarily in its death throes as many have claimed, but it is desperately grasping at straws as it tries to maintain its "tried and true" (read: archaic) mode of production and business model.

The iTunes Music Store, artists like Beck and OK Go, and those on the forefront of technology and creativity are helping consumers of music, and the RIAA is doing its best to keep control. (It's failing, for now.)

9/11/2006 10:43 AM  

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