Best Music Critic (2009)


With all apologies to our own Rob Harvilla, as well as every other human on the planet, this one we have to give to Rapidshare, the inanimate Internet technology that allows users to host and trade files online without the interference of antiquated middlemen like, say, the employees of this newspaper. File-sharing isn't news on the Net, of course—Napster debuted practically a decade ago. But in a year in which the music mag VIBE collapsed—shortly after anointing the top 50 MP3 blogs that, as it turned out, would easily outlast the publication that belatedly saw fit to acknowledge them—it's become increasingly harder to pretend that the work of music criticism in 2009 is anything but the procuring and distributing of individual MP3s. Jon Caramanica, at the Times, and a handful of others—Ryan Dombal and (former Voice writer) Tom Breihan at Pitchfork, Jody Rosen at Slate, etc.—are as steady and reliable as ever, but increasingly, the conversation takes place over all of our heads. Why dwell on any one song (or album) when the next five are always just a click away?


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