Berlin Music Week Panel: The Current State of Music Journalism

During last week’s Berlin Music Week Henning Lahmann—journalist, No Fear of Pop founder, and our most recent mix contributor—chaired a discussion about the current state of music journalism in an age of predominantly online editorial and initiatives. The panel included the Quietus founder John Doran, one half of the Sick Girls Alexandra Dröner, The Line Of Best Fit features editor Francine Gorman, Dummy magazine associate editor Ruth Saxelby, and Tailored Communication founder Melissa Taylor, and raised some interesting issues surrounding contemporary music culture, publicity, and reportage. Check the outcome and the official introduction to the panel below:

“Now more than ever before, the music world in 2013 is entirely focused around spectacular, well executed and sensational PR campaigns that are planned down to the smallest detail – bands such as DAFT PUNK, BOARDS OF CANANDA or KANYE WEST immediately spring to mind, not to mention the apparently leaked demos of English musician JAI PAUL on Bandcamp. More than ever, it seems PR companies and record labels are determined to set the agenda for music journalism.

This raises the question: What’s the state of music journalism today?

Is independent journalism about music still possible? Given the apparent necessity to achieve ever-more clicks and increased circulation, it is essential to clarify how much scope still remains for reviews and contextualization in order for journalists to maintain real separation from the increasingly wide-scale and subtlety designed marketing strategies of the music industry. Vice-versa, it also needs to be asked what the other side of the music industry – musicians, DJs, promoters and labels – can expect from reviews. And are such reviews even necessary given the ubiquity of freely available music from torrents and streaming services?”

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