My vexation—the thing that makes me spew endless bile on Twitter, the thing that makes me rant and rave about all of this—comes from the total and sneaky manner in which digital music distribution and increasingly-powerful engines of influence like Pitchfork have destroyed music fandom, by turning it into a salable commodity without the fans’ consent. When fans bought records, they had their say, their dollar vote. When big labels engaged in channel-stuffing to get shitty records falsely elevated chart position, that was unethical, and false, and people rebelled against it through punk, hip-hop and indie music, etc.
What is the modern response for subjugated fans now that music distribution and recommendation platforms are profiting from their attention, regardless of the nature of that attention? You might be listening to something, and just retching over how bad it is; you would never pay money for it, but because you landed on it, someone’s getting paid. How can anyone delude themselves a referendum based on this kind of binary tallying is valid? This system cedes the same corrupt control over music promotion to digital publishers and the PR firms they’re cozy with.
Chris Ott, Period-Correct Pop