Spin Magazine Phasing Out Album Reviews
After 26 years covering music, Spin magazine is getting rid of album reviews -- well, not quite.
Christopher Weingarten, senior editor at the New York-based title, said Wednesday that reviews deemed irrevelant in a digital age where everyone's a critic will be phased out -- and instead relegated to 140-character judgments composed by a team of staff editors and freelancers. This year, the magazine intends to tackle more than 1,500 album releases on the Twitter account @SPINReviews.
"The standard music review, once presented as an imperious edict, has increasingly frayed into a redundant, gratuitous novelty in an era of fewer and fewer actual music consumers," Weingarten wrote on a post on the magazine's website. "Tight security on major-label albums (and practically no security on indie-label albums) often means you're downloading a leaked album the same day as your favorite magazine or website. The value of the average rock critic's opinion has plummeted now that a working knowledge of Google can get you high-quality audio of practically any record, so you can listen and decide for yourself whether it's worth a damn… Um, but don't tell anyone we said that, okay?"
Still, the magazine, founded in 1985, won't do away with long-form music criticism completely. About 20 reviews focusing on the "very best records of the year" will be posted per month on the website, Weingarten noted.
"Thankfully, this new plan also means no more overwrought 80-word blurbs on middling, nobody-cares bands where a grade of '6' or a '7' ultimately translates to 'Hey, this exists; and it doesn't totally blow!'" he added. "We will review hip-hop mixtapes when they leak and major-label records when the major labels remember to send watermarks. We will review Bandcamp releases and box sets. We will review the wheat and the chaff and the stem and the leaves and the dirt. Yeah, we're going to review a lot of friggin' records."