Simon Reynolds reminisces the music press of his youth:
If I were to condense all the interrelated aspects of the print-and-paper music press into a handful of words, they’d be synchrony, concentration, relative durability, institutional aura, and authority. All elements that have either been depleted and damaged, or have completely vanished, in the current online music media.
To talk about the systemic virtues of a bygone mode of cultural transmission is to risk scorn. In a culture that idolizes technology and makes secular gods of figures like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, it has become inadmissible to talk about change as anything but an a priori positive. And when these changes have taken place within the context of pop music, one also confronts youth’s reflexive patriotism for its own era, the way that hormonal triumphalism meshes with generational self-image to insist that only right now can be the best time. I understand that; I’ve felt that myself. I also know that change is inevitable, irreversible. But I don’t see why one shouldn’t attempt a calm and clear assessment of what’s been lost with the collapse and disappearance of the old ways.