I know it had nothing to do with your post, I was actually replying to 1con0clast (Stereogum needs a better comment branch system) but my question didn’t have much to do with his post either. Mostly I just saw this as an opportunity to get this question answered because it seems like online music journos just do whatever they can spin as relevant.
Then why aren’t the sites covered with only positive reviews of great albums? The edict can’t be, “only good stuff” because we all know good is dependent on taste, so how is it decided that POP ETC is quality but Chris Brown isn’t? We all know indie & alternative bands that put out awful albums but they’re part of the “scene” so they still get press, even if it’s negative.
I don’t necessarily agree with the crux of your post, but I do wonder how Pitchfork/Stereogum/the indie blogosphere decide what “mainstream” acts to cover. Is there a satisfying answer or is this nebulous grey area questioning like “what is pop?” How come Flo Rida and Katy Perry don’t get covered, even if just to be blasted like Jet?