Pitchfork Founder Ryan Schreiber On Why Indie Rock Might Be Getting Younger

In today’s paper I wrote about the influence that Pitchfork has had on musicians in their 20s who have been reading the site since they were kids. The basic idea was that bands that have broken out over the past year grew up listening to music they heard about because Pitchfork told them it was good. Last Thursday night, Pitchfork had a party at their office in Greenpoint and I got to talk to Ryan Schreiber–who founded the site as a teenager in 1995– about the acts he and his team of writers have been championing lately, such as Wavves, Best Coast, and the XX.

“There’s definitely a subculture of blogger music that’s, like, super youthful,” said Mr. Schreiber, who is 34. “It just seems like almost everybody who’s starting a band now and coming out and sort of establishing themselves– it definitely seems like a whole bunch of, like, really young kids.”

Why might that be the case? Mr. Schreiber has a whole theory about it, he said, but the elevator pitch is basically that people who are currently in their 20s grew up with recording software on their computers and thus got good at recording at a very early age.

“It’s definitely a major shift,” he said. “The recording technology is available to everyone. People talk about the 70s punk explosion as being this, you know, big awakening, which it was, with people realizing they didn’t need record labels. But they still needed to go into the studio to record, which cost money; they still needed to distribute the record, which cost money. There was just a lot more work involved when you actually had to have music on a physical format.”

Now that Garage Band– a piece of software that allows high quality home recording– comes on every Macbook, kids are starting to make music at a very young age and put it out into the world with ease.

“It’s kind of resulting in a lot more studio production,” Mr. Schreiber said. “The live shows are what suffer. There are kids who have tons of experience recording but they’ve never played live, or played live so rarely. So you get this dynamic where they’re able to produce amazing tracks, and then live they’ve never done it.”

Mr. Schreiber, who goes to four or five shows per week now that he’s a resident of Williamsburg, said he’s usually pretty forgiving of bands who don’t yet have a handle on performance.

“I go to enough Bushwick shows that you learn to eventually hear around sound problems,” he said. “To me it doesn’t make much sense to hold against a band that they’re not good live when they’re so young and so unestablished.”

Pitchfork Founder Ryan Schreiber On Why Indie Rock Might Be Getting Younger