Good Night, Stylus

Sunday, October 28, 2007



Stylus Magazine, which I have written for for over five years, ceases publication on October 31st.

There will be lots of 'goodbye' and 'and finally' type pieces published there in the last few days of its existence, including a farewell piece by myself, so I shan't write too much here. Needless to say, I'm sad, and it feels like the end of an era. It is the end of an era.

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent a couple of weeks ago to PR contact of mine, explaining some of the reasoning behind why I think music journalism is dying;

"Last.fm has hit sites like Stylus hard because it removes the need for
criticism / reviews - it essentially cuts out the middleman of the
music press by giving access to specialised peer recommendatons; why
trust a journalist who might be biased or swayed by free gifts when
you can trust someone who likes lots of other records you like?
Couple it with services like emusic and illegal download clients and
you've got a fast system of finding out about bands and hearing them
without having to read an article or visit a record shop; it cuts time
and money from the process, but also ties people up on last.fm or
facebook or whenever which cuts down time they might have spent
reading. No one reads (about music) anymore, so there's no need for
(music) writers."

NJS

Sunday, October 28, 2007

7 Comments:

Blogger stephen - 8:22 pm

Nick, do you have a hi-rez version of the photo in this entry? I like very much, would like to use as desktop background if you don't mind. My resolution is 1280x854 so any bigger than that is fine, I'll just crop it accordingly. Thanks in advance, whether this is okay with you, or not.

stephenbush at mail dot utexas dot edu

 
Blogger Nick - 11:20 pm

I don't know whether I do, because this photo's years old and from when I had my old PC, but I'll have a look. If not, I still have the CD player and the camera, so maybe I can recreate it for you.

 
Blogger mike - 12:17 am

I'm going to miss Stylus.

On another note, however: Nick, do you really think music criticsm is dying? I mean, you can learn more about what your friends are listening to via Last.fm, but most likely they will not give you any insight into that music the way a good piece of rock crit would.

Also, are people really reading less criticism? Perhaps casual music fans, but my guess is that, with the advent of the internet, music obsessives are reading and writing more criticism than ever. See: ILM, proflieration of music blogs and music-related sites, etc.

 
Blogger Meatbreak - 2:22 pm

Hi Nick. I'm pretty devastated that Stylus is going, very sad news indeed. I hope I'll be able to keep up with your writing somewhere else - maybe it will be somewhere commentless so I can't harass you!

 
Blogger Matthew H - 3:37 pm

Crying shame about Stylus - it spoke with real authority, to these eyes. I don't know the reasons behind its demise, but I agree with Mike that people are reading as much as ever; perhaps patronage is a little thinly spread.

 
Blogger People Who Look Like Their Pets - 5:45 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
Blogger Fiona McLaren - 5:47 pm

I just wanted to add a note here, because I work at Last.fm and obviously I think our recommendations are fantastic; however, Stylus was always still one of my first ports of call for new releases, for finding gems Last.fm doesn't throw up because they're outside of my usual listening, and just for something good to read.

I don't think automatic recommendations are or should be replacing trusted ones from taste-makers; there's something to be said for human knowledge, emotion and intellect. Stylus had many features (and excellent writing) which will be sadly missed. It was my saviour after Comes With A Smile stopped being published. Surely there's room for technology and a good old fashioned love of music and way with words to live side-by-side? I hope so anyway.

 

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Nick Southall was born in southwest England at the tail end of the 70s, and is the youngest of three brothers. He has a degree in popular culture and philosophy and has written about music for Stylus Magazine, The Guardian and Drowned In Sound, amongst others. He likes red wine, expensive headphones, spicy food, and the Hungarian national football team of the 1950s. His favourite record is the last one he listened to. You can contact him by email via sickmouthy @ gmail dot com should you so wish.

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