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Pitchfork’s Importance Shouldn’t Be Underrated

Pitchfork’s Importance Shouldn’t Be Underrated

The word indie has lost a lot of its credibility over the years. A term that’s supposed to signal nonconformity is now a bland aesthetic label, evoking microbrews and mason jars. Many supposedly indie institutions have allied with corporations, such as when Pitchfork, the music-reviewing website known for catapulting obscure bands and tearing down big ones, was bought by Condé Nast, the glossy media company, in 2015. Still, this week’s news that Condé Nast is making drastic changes at Pitchfork highlights that “indie” continues to represent something important—and something frighteningly endangered, especially in the music world. Yesterday, Condé Nast’s chief content officer, Anna Wintour, announced plans to merge Pitchfork into the men’s magazine GQ. “This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork’s performance and what we believe is the best path forward for the brand so that our coverage of music can continue to thrive within the company,” she wrote in a staff memo. On social media, many of the site’s key writers and editors, some of whom had been on staff for …