By Victor Palacios Cruz
Music journalism in newspapers has become social media’s latest casualty.
On Oct. 18, Mike Wilson, The Dallas Morning News editor, announced the newspaper would no longer employ a dedicated music editor, according to Central Track.
That same month, Central Track reported the Dallas Observer eliminated its full-time music editor role as well. Nearly four months earlier, the DMN’s last music editor, Hunter Hauk, resigned to be the senior editor of Cowboys & Indians Magazine.
In the old days, mainstream media focused on newspapers and TV. Music journalists who worked at newspapers often wrote articles about experiencing a band’s concert performance or giving readers suggestions about which musicians to follow.
Newspapers are not the only ones struggling through this change.
On TV, MTV aired music videos and programs that involved music. If a musician had a music video air on MTV, they were considered a success.
MTV has suffered low ratings with the rise of social media. It began to air reality and other TV shows just to keep ratings high. But by doing so, it lost the symbol of being the channel for popular music. On Oct. 24, Bloomberg Markets reported that Sean Atkins, MTV president, was stepping down after being on the job for only a year.
In the 21st century, the landscape of mainstream media has changed due to the rise of social media and music streaming services. Many people have access to the news and things that interest them.
In the past, people who wanted to listen to chart-topping hits had to shell out $10-$20 for the entire album. But with streaming services, you can listen to almost any song you want for as long as you want and only pay about $10 per month. Many newspapers have suffered through the rise of social media and streaming services as well.
There are a variety of services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, a person can use now to listen to music, which killed the purpose of MTV and what it stands for.
The New York Times reported that nonprofit groups, such as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, will help The Boston Globe pay its music critic Zoe Madonna’s salary for 10 months. It shows how desperately some newspapers are trying to save their music journalists.
MTV’s struggle and the decline of music journalism show the old way of covering music is coming to an end.
People are no longer buying newspapers to find trending musicians, because they can find their songs on the internet. Technology helps people access more music, but at the same time, people are losing their jobs because of this shift in the way people consume music. Many people would rather watch videos from bands performing on YouTube than read a music critic’s experience of attending a concert.
Music journalism suffers, with newspapers getting rid of their music sections or reducing them. News organizations that focus mainly on music are the only group still standing.
As for MTV, I don’t know what will happen next. Will it become obsolete just like Myspace? Or will it die out like Vine?
People are enjoying more music with music-streaming services and social media, but that success comes with a cost.