"And Pitchfork, at least, is cultishly influential. A recent rave on the site put Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled debut in the No. 1 sales spot of online retailer Insound. The retrofied New York band--think David Byrne fronting the Shins--released the album itself and has yet to tour extensively. Matt Wishnow, president of Insound, says his site has sold more than 1,000 copies of the disc, which makes it "one of the fastest-selling records in the history of Insound."

According to Nielsen Soundscan figures, Pitchfork faves have done quite well with minimal mainstream press coverage. The Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat sold 30,000 copies. Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It in People sold 75,000. And the Arcade Fire's Funeral, Pitchfork's favorite album of last year, sold 167,000 units.

"It's huge," says Wishnow, "the fall of the rock critic as celebrity that we used to know--the Greil Marcus, the Chuck Eddy, the Christgau. Peer opinion and access to peer opinion have been so elevated and multiplied that people tend to know about [records] from a trusted voice before the rock critic even does. In most cases, the rock critic finds out about it after the average Insound or Pitchfork or blog reader knows about it.""

Why good writers are the worst thing that's ever happened to pop-music criticism (via Prefix)