“I’ve always been a really big fan of Stereogum. I think it’s no secret with the rise of internet media, the snarkiness has been turned up pretty high across the board. It’s not just in relation to music journalism, it’s in all forms of journalism. But I really do appreciate that blog, they have a sense of humor, they take people down a peg or two, and they have fun with it but they don’t get mean. I really like their site, they post great music, videos, they’re really up on their news, but they don’t go out of their way to be nasty to people. It’s a kind of sad state of affairs that that’s a rare thing — to have a popular website that doesn’t make their headlines by slagging people off all the time. And I think they’re really great, and the writing is great, too.”
- Ben Gibbard, Death Cab For Cutie
“Talent always rises to the top. The only thing that has changed is that the scouts are now from Pitchfork and Stereogum instead of Interscope and EMI.”
- LA Weekly
“Stereogum is in this way braving a path beyond the standard blog snark and toward an active role as a sponsor of interesting music projects.”
AWARDS & CITATIONS
Paste (May 2009)
Why we follow: To make our guilty pleasures seem like high art. Scott Lapatine’s tastes are wide open, giving equal time to Britney and Animal Collective. And his Breakfast At Sulimay’s series, where old folks review hip-hop and indie rock at a diner in Philly is brilliant. I love watching two out of three octagenarians fall in love with Bon Iver. Lapatine also Tweets more personally @scottgum.
CNET (May 2008)
Technology may have made it simple to obtain digital music, but it hasn’t provided an easy way to sift through millions of tracks to find the tunes we like.
The Internet has, however, connected music fans to a legion of hardcore aficionados who help steer people to new music. Think of Barry, Jack Black’s rock-addicted character from the film High Fidelity, with a blog.
The difference is that some of today’s most popular music bloggers may someday be worth more than Barry ever dreamed of earning in that record store. Music blogs are nearly as old as the Web, but the past year has brought unprecedented growth, influence, and dollars to the sector as people look for help discovering new music. Now, the most popular blogs, such as Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, and Pitchfork, look less and less like Internet fanzines and more like tech start-ups.
Vanity Fair (June 2008)
Vanity Fair’s chart of “the most influential or amusing blogs about politics, gossip, Hollywood, media, and miscellany” includes Stereogum, described as the “Hipster stop for recording industry news… find hot up n’ comers here first.”
Digital Music News (December 2009)
Brandon ’Show No Mercy’ Stosuy has now taken his metal column from Pitchfork to Stereogum. Look for ’Haunting the Chapel’ on stereogum.com
Plug Independent Music Awards (March 2008)
Performing Songwriter Indie Power List (December 2007)
by Bill DeMain
From labels to websites to festivals and everything in between, here are the top 20 movers and shakers in the world of independent music.
1. Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe (Founders of MySpace)
2. Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim (Founders of YouTube)
3. Roland Swenson (Co-Founder and Director of South By Southwest)
4. Scott Lapatine (Creator of Stereogum)
5. David Pakman (CEO of eMusic)
PC Magazine’s 100 Favorite Blogs (October 2007)
by Brian Heater
If you don’t work in the music industry, being an indie rock fan can be a job in and off itself. Fortunately, all one has to do is point one’s cultural RSS feed to Stereogum. The frequently updated New York-based music blog has its finger on the pulse of up-and-coming music in a way that few, if any, others can touch, featuring tour dates, news, concert reviews, and an abundance of free and legal MP3 downloads.
Portfolio: Musical Players (September 2007)
It’s time for the MTV awards, the recording industry’s annual video bacchanal. Meet six of the most influential tastemakers behind the hits.
by Duff McDonald
Lia Vollack, 42
President for worldwide music, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Ken Lombard, 52
President, Starbucks Entertainment
Scott Lapatine, 29
Why he matters: Runs the Web’s highest-trafficked music blog.
Track record: Early on, championed Grammy-nominated indie-rock band Arcade Fire.
Guilty pleasure: Genesis.
Change he foresees: Digital music sales via mobile phone.
Gary Severson, 47
Senior V.P. for entertainment, Wal-Mart
Diane Warren, 50
Steve Schnur, 41
Worldwide executive of music and marketing, Electronic Arts.
Blender’s 25 Most Influential People in Online Music (August 2007)
From Russian pirates to Myspace Tom, we count down the rockingest nerds on the net.
By Jon Dolan, Rob Levine, Ben Sisario and Douglas Wolk
11. Scott Lapatine
Stereogum ( Indie-rock blog )
Ex-VH1 employee Scott Lapatine’s cliquish blog is the first place inquiring indie-rock fans go for new tracks, videos, news and debate. Stereogum has more than 500,000 monthly readers, twice as many as the closest-competing blog. “Pitchfork is a portal; we’re a community,” says Lapatine, 29.
DON’T HATE ME CUZ I’M ALWAYS THERE FIRST
He posted about Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah before anyone else.
Music Web Sites Sponsor Concerts, Albums (July 2007)
On the Net: Music Sites Get Into the Act by Sponsoring Concerts, Albums
By JAKE COYLE AP Entertainment
To commemorate “OK Computer,” the music blog Stereogum.com commissioned a full cover album: “OKX: A Tribute to `OK Computer,’” (stereogum.com/okx). The site turned to a dozen indie acts and buzzed-about artists the sort of bands the site likes to hype to put their spin on the album’s 12 tracks. Among them are Cold War Kids, My Brightest Diamond, Twilight Sad, John Vanderslice, David Bazan and others.
The results are impressively adventurous arrangements that are most memorable for their evident passion for Radiohead’s great album. Most of the artists also contributed notes on their memories of “OK Computer.”
Bazan, who plays here with his band Black Cloud, recalls first hearing “Let Down”: “Days later it dawned on me that it was possibly the saddest and most beautiful single the radio would ever play.”
This is not the first album released by Stereogum. The site, founded by editor-in-chief Scott Lapatine, has also put out year-end digital albums featuring mash-ups of the year’s memorable tracks.
Stereogum is in this way braving a path beyond the standard blog snark and toward an active role as a sponsor of interesting music projects.
Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Best Music Websites (May 2006)
See Entertainment Weekly’s picks for where to pick up on hot new tunes (click on the site names to visit them)
By Michael Endelman
- THE LIVE MUSIC ARCHIVE
Like a snarky best friend, this blog is the prime Web destination for rock & roll gossip and breaking Britney news. Despite its trashy celeb obsession and often goofy tone, the music is no joke. Stereogum picks next-hot-bands with uncanny accuracy. (Current choice: the folk-pop of Beirut.) Count on the site to point you toward the latest indie-rock crushes (Sufjan Stevens), fun covers (the Postal Service do Phil Collins), and prerelease singles from the likes of Kanye West.
GREAT FIND: Kevin Federline’s “Popozao”
Austin Chronicle’s The Insider: Scott Lapatine (March 2006)
Brief conversations with very important people
By Andy Langer
WHO: Stereogum.com founder Scott Lapatine, arguably the blogosphere’s most influential music tastemaker. Last year this Brooklyn-based fanatic was name-dropped in Entertainment Weekly, Forbes, Newsweek, The New York Times, and wound up on The Wall Street Journal’s “Moguls of New Media” power list. Heady stuff, but well-deserved: Stereogum’s accuracy in next-big-thing prognosticating and prerelease MP3s makes it the rare music blog worth visiting daily.
ON MUSIC BLOGS AND SXSW: Originally the Festival’s purpose was for labels to discover bands they’d never heard of. And while there’s a ton of great stuff I want to see this year, I’m not convinced there’s going to be some crazy surprise everyone will discover. I think people now go in with a sense of who the buzz bands are already, and part of that is the music blogs. A&R is happening on the Internet now. Because blogs constantly look for new bands, championing them and watching them grow, South by Southwest might not hold as many surprises as it once did. That doesn’t make South by Southwest any less exciting. That we know a little more in advance isn’t necessarily a bad thing when there are 1,300 bands.
STATE OF THE MUSIC BLOGS, 2007: I think you’re seeing what you see with any kind of niche Web site. Music blogs have multiplied, but there are a few that have risen from the pack with more readers and more trust. And that’s great. Who has the time to read 1,000 music blogs every day? And they’re definitely more influential than any of us thought. Look at Pitchfork. It’s not a blog, but it’s bloglike. A lot of the music blogs look to Pitchfork as a huge success story in that young people, industry outsiders, can get their tastes out there and help break bands.
OBVIOUS SXSW PICKS: There’s been huge buzz around Peter, Bjorn & John for a year. I saw them recently in New York, and they more than lived up to the hype. A lot of people will line up to see them, but I still think it’s worth it. Lily Allen is the same way. Not a surprise pick, but after seeing her live a number of times, she can do no wrong. She’s infectious. You’re going to have a great time.
LESS OBVIOUS SXSW PICKS: Dappled Cities Fly are from Australia, and they have a terrible name. They’re an indie-pop band with a Shins vibe. They released a great record last month on Dangerbird Records, getting a lot of attention on the blogs, but most of us have never seen them live. A friend recently saw the New Violators, a Norwegian band with a cool Eighties New Romantic-redux thing. I love what I’ve heard but have never seen them, either. I’m sure I’ll end up seeing a lot of bands I’ve already seen, but these are something new to get psyched for.
Forbes Best Of The Web (March 2006)
Directory selected according to five criteria: Content, Design, Speed, Navigation and Customization.
Think MTV News meets The Daily Show. Don’t expect any reviews, news or announcements. This gossipy blog about the music scene plays mostly for laughs. Recent postings included a gasp-inducing excerpt from an interview with Mariah Carey for a Swiss paper in which the troubled songstress blamed 9/11 for her movie flop Glitter. Nearly fifty bloggers weighed in with sometimes-raunchy, mostly-hilarious suggestions for rapper L’Il Kim’s prison name, while even more waxed philosophical about Avril Lavigne’s impending nuptials. Festivals and concerts get ample commentary. Live 8 generated rants about MTV’s spotty coverage along with armchair critiques of every performance. Archives go back to November 2003 (sorted by month). Links to fifty or so other blogs of so-called “cool kids,” including the Gothamist and former Trekkie Wil Wheaton.
BEST: Knee-slapping riffs on the music scene. Check out biting feedback for the new Whitney Houston-Bobby Brown reality show.
SPIN 2004 Readers Poll (January 2005)
In a year rife with corporate corruption and international terrorism, not to mention the most divisive election in American history, we have the blog community to thanks for exposing … Ashleegate!
NEWSWEEK Music: The Rise of the ’Yupster’ (January 2006)
By Andrew Romano
Music fans, rejoice: “list season”–that wintry instant when our nation’s critics whittle a year of records into tidy top 10s–has come again. According to the album-review aggregators at Metacritic.com, Bob Dylan scored highest in 2001. Tom Waits took ’02, ’03 was Led Zeppelin’s year and Brian Wilson owned ’04. So who’s winning this round? Some guy named Sufjan Stevens. That’s “SOOF-yawn”–in case you haven’t heard of him.
Stevens’s success (and the dinos’ decline) neatly sums up a year that saw “indie” rock suddenly selling to scenesters and suits alike. In November ’04, Conor Oberst–the genre’s poster boy–snagged the top two spots on the singles charts, and Death Cab for Cutie’s 2005 record “Plans” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Despite a dip in overall sales, indie labels now claim 27 percent of the music market–their largest share in recent memory. “This year, there’s a real consensus around 10 records,” says Adam Shore of Vice Recordings. “And they’re all this type of indie rock.”
Connoisseurs are crediting “Yupsters”–Yuppie hipsters–for the change. (Need help? Take a look at “The O.C.’s” Seth Cohen, who stocks his Range Rover with Death Cab discs.) For the past decade, indie records sold primarily to obsessives because, without major-label distribution, the music was tough to find. But now a few clicks and an iPod are all it takes for would-be Yupsters to indulge any curiosity. Just ask Metacritic’s eighth-ranked act: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. A year ago they were unsigned–and unknown. But hot MP3 blog Stereogum.com posted a track in February. In June, Pitchforkmedia.com gave their debut a rare 9.0. Now they’ve sold 50,000 CDs–one of which provided the cube dwellers of NBC’s “The Office” with the soundtrack for a recent BBQ. “We’re at a crossroads,” says Stereogum’s Scott Lapatine. “Indie bands are gaining in popularity–and indie Yuppies are using the Web to discover them.”
Expect the hybrid to thrive in 2006. Audi now advertises on Pitchfork. John Varvatos crafts custom Converse. Apple is set to unload as many iPods in the next three months as it sold between ’01 and ’04. And on Feb. 6, Sufjan Stevens will vie for indiedom’s just-invented answer to a Grammy: the New Pantheon Award. Who knows? Come next list season, you may even be able to pronounce his name.
Daily News: Bands’ Net Gains (August 2007)
By Jim Farber
Over the past few years, certain music blogs have developed loyal enough audiences, and bulked up enough credibility, to provide crucial boosts to bands on the make. Josh Deutsch, head of the indie label Downtown Records, says he signed the band Cold War Kids in part because “they were the No. 1 most blogged band at that time. After we signed them we launched an extensive blog campaign. We feel that blog exposure is consistent with the broad changes in consumption patterns across this industry.”
Scott Lapatine, who runs the blog Stereogum, claims his site gets 650,000 unique visitors a month. It also generates enough advertising to support him and a small staff of writers. Other sites take a far more casual approach.
The man behind Brooklyn Vegan (who would only give his name as “Dave”) began his site just as randomly. “I thought I would write about vegetarian restaurants in Brooklyn,” he says. “But then the music thing just took off and it was too late to change the name.”
In the years since, the Brooklyn-based site has become a major New York resource on local music, first on indie rock, but now on hip hop as well. “If you’re a twentysomething in Brooklyn and love music, you’ll log on and talk about that TV on the Radio show you went to last night,” says Lapatine. “It’s instant gratification.”
That element of speed accounts for a key part of the blogs’ appeal. It also gives them an edge over traditional music media. “I don’t know of anyone who goes to Rolling Stone for breaking news anymore,” says Lapatine. “And if you pick up Spin, you see pictures of [the] Bonnaroo [Festival] weeks later. Who cares, if you saw it on YouTube the day after it happened?”
The biggest blogs have lately been expanding their brands. Pitchfork now has its own concert festival in Chicago and Stereogum just released a CD, with members of bands as big as the Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie covering songs from Radiohead’s “OK Computer.” The indie rocker John Vanderslice just launched what may be the first “blog tour,” which finds him “traveling” from site to site, debuting a different live version of a song from his new CD.