This piece on the devolution of music journalism by Ted Gioia on The Daily Beast is really great. And I think it’s right.
But the lede…
Imagine, for a moment, football commentators who refuse to explain formations and plays. Or a TV cooking show that never mentions the ingredients. Or an expert on cars who refuses to look under the hood of an automobile.
These examples may sound implausible, perhaps ridiculous. But something comparable is happening in the field of music journalism. One can read through a stack of music magazines and never find any in-depth discussion of music. Technical knowledge of the art form has disappeared from its discourse. In short, music criticism has turned into lifestyle reporting.
…actually raises two issues that the piece doesn’t really consider: 1) the audience for music and 2) the fact that music journalism has always been largely a niche endeavor.