Pitchfork, once a cultural bastion for music criticism, will merge with men’s magazine GQ, leading to layoffs at the online publication, according to a memo from Anna Wintour, chief content officer at their parent company Condé Nast.
Ms. Wintour wrote in her memo, “This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork’s performance, and we believe it is the best path forward for the brand so that our coverage of music continues to grow within the company.” To continue.” Issued to employees on Wednesday.
Casualties of the merger included Pooja Patel, the site’s editor-in-chief since 2018, who replaced Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber.
“Pitchfork and GQ both have unique and valuable ways to approach music journalism,” Ms. Wintour said, “and we’re excited for new possibilities together.” “With these organizational changes, some of our Pitchfork colleagues will be leaving the company today.”
A representative for Condé Nast declined to say how many people were laid off.
Mr. Schreiber launched Pitchfork in 1996 as a teenager in Minneapolis. The name was a reference to the tattoo worn by Al Pacino’s character Tony Montana in the classic film “Scarface.”
In the years that followed, Pitchfork established itself as a taste-making institution. A prolific publication that could make or break an artist’s release – famous or otherwise – with scathing criticism or overwhelming praise, it became an alternative to Rolling Stone for audiences hungry for more indie flavor.
An example: The outlet gave Sonic Youth’s 2000 album, “NYC Ghosts & Flowers”, a rating of zero out of 10.
“Now, at last, my generation has its own ‘Metal Machine Music’ – a bottomless album that will be heard in the squash courts and open mic nights of deep hell,” Brent DiCrescenzo. wrote at that time,
Or, in an enthusiastic review, the writing may turn toward the abstract, as with the opening sentences of the 9.7 review of the Arcade Fire album “Funeral”, which helped the band Join the mainstream.
David Moore wrote, “Our generation is overwhelmed by despair, unrest, fear, and tragedy.” “Fear is thoroughly pervasive in American society, yet we manage our own safety in subtle ways – we scoff at arbitrary, color-coded ‘threat’ levels; We get our information from comedians and laugh at politicians.
The site has had critics over the years, with complaints that some of its reviews were unnecessarily mean or inaccurate.
In some cases, Pitchfork has opted for a do-over. Liz Phair’s self-titled album received a score of zero from critic Matt LeMay when it came out in 2003. Sixteen years later, Mr. LeMay ended his review with “kind and angry,
In 2021, Phair’s album was one of several that received another look from Pitchfork – it 6 time to get,
Condé Nast acquired Pitchfork in 2015. At the time, Condé Nast’s chief digital officer Fred Santarpia said that Pitchfork brought with it “a very passionate audience of millennial men on our roster.”
With the rise of social media, music streaming, social media, and podcasts, Pitchfork has lost some of its cultural heritage from two decades ago. And like many media companies, Condé Nast, whose portfolio includes The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue, has struggled to remain profitable despite cutting advertising.
In November, Condé Nast announced it would lay off 5 percent of its workforce, about 270 employees.