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Music Blog Panel @ Columbia University | Recap

Last night’s panel discussion, “Noise from Underground: Pop Criticism and Cred in the Era of MP3s, Zines, and Blogs,” started out a lot like the now infamous Flaming Lips show just a few days earlier. After spending about 2.5 hours commuting from work to home to the Bronx, I arrived at the 116th street location to find a long line, and a no-nonsense doorman. If you weren’t on the (RSVP) list or a “credentialed” member of the press, you might not get in. That’s what we were told. Funny, they didn’t mention RSVPing in the advertisement. I got on the line.

Frustrated after my long commute, I decided to give the doorman one more try. “Um. Hi sir. I don’t have press credentials, but I would like to cover this event on my blog.” “NO,” he said as he turned his head upwards and walked away. YEAH, so it is the Columbia school of (traditional) journalism, but it’s an event about the “ERA of blogs.” Love the irony.

Enough ranting. I got in. I got a seat even. I don’t know if everyone got in. There were a lot of people behind me in line. Some just gave up right away and left. That’s what happens when you stick a dude from TV on the Radio (Tunde Adebimpe) on your panel (who barely spoke during the 1.5 hour discussion), a bunch of popular music people, throw in the word “blog,” and get a link on Gawker, Flavorpill, Larehearted Boy, More in the Monitor, Let the Good Times Roll, (Brooklynvegan), PolloxNiner, and Prefix. I overheard a Columbia employee saying it was the most packed event the journalism department ever threw, and that they finally realized their dream of actually having to turn people away at the door (I’m sure there was a bit of sarcasm in the statement).

One of the panelists was Michael Azerrad, author of “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” and editor in chief of emusic.com. The discussion mostly focused on traditional media vs. blogs, and Michael raised the point that lesser critics/bloggers link to critics/bloggers with more cred as a form of giving props, getting noticed, and networking (and vice versa). Did I mention that Sasha Frere Jones, esteemed pop music critic for The New Yorker, AND blogger, was the moderator of the panel?

Other panelists:

Amy Phillips, Pitchfork and Village Voice reviewer, and one half of More in the Monitor (the other half was sitting in the front row).

Knox Robinson, editor in chief, The Fader

Brandon Wall, editor in chief, Prefix

And the most old-school, and sophisticated (and “I don’t read blogs” attitude), of the bunch:

Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor, Rolling Stone; executive editor, Tracks; editor of “Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture” and author of “Rocking My Life Away

I took a bunch of nice pictures of the panelists. I had action shots. Knox Robinson of the Fader dissing editors and too much fact checking. Sasha Frere Jones asking if Knox is trying to say that The Fader is the only magazine that gets it right. An audience member saying that Rolling Stone basically sucks. Anthony DeCurtis saying he doesn’t read Pitchfork. Amy Phillips of Pitchfork telling Anthony (also of Tracks) he better not be talkin sh*t about her mom. Tunde not saying much. etc, etc…

BUTTTTTTTTTTT (crying)…… Those pictures are gone forever due to a computer malfunction last night. As I was transferring the photos (and the ones of Ben Kweller and The Walkmen from the night before) off the camera, they somehow disappeared. gone forever. grrrrr. oh well. Someone out there will have some pics. The event was even videotaped by Columbia, though I’m not sure how you can get your hands on a copy.

I can go on and on about this event. Like how Sasha gave a shout-out to Catchdubs, an audience member gave a shout-out to himself, the event host gave some shout-outs to famous critics in the audience (though I didn’t get their names), and how some of the panel members kept using the term “blog” and “pitchfork” interchangeably, but I’ll end it here. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments section of this post, or add your own review.

Sasha blogged about the event today.

So did two other blogs:

Nichelle Newsletter: Pop Life

Pop Criticism and Cred in the Era of MP3s, Zines and Blogs

Previously

What the Blog?: Literary Blogger Summit

Check It Out

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