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Morning Spew

A Glimpse of Music Journalism’s Future

Last week, it seemed like the industry was down for the count. After a night at a sold out reading hosted by the blog No Bells, I'm not so sure. Plus, more links for your Friday.

9:40 AM EST on January 26, 2024

Alphonse Pierre reading at The Living Gallery (Hell Gate)

I've just been turned away from the front door at the Living Gallery in Bushwick, where a line is forming on a drizzly Thursday night.

I call Millan Verma, one of the editors of No Bells, the blog covering internet music, which has organized tonight's event. "Yo, this is Adlan, can you come let me in?"

"I don't know man," Verma responds. "We’re at capacity. Badly." 

This is crazy. I'm not gonna get into a music journalism reading?

But minutes later, Verma's partner and the founder of No Bells, Mano Sundaresan, appears at the front door, and waves me in. "You're good." Phew.

Inside is a room full of blank white walls, a single microphone, a string of lights in No Bells's signature purple, and a smattering of music journalists. In fifteen minutes, I have my newly bought t-shirt slung over my shoulder like I'm at a music festival, and half the room is full and already starting to get sweaty. I start feeling like I might recognize every other face from Twitter. The J train rumbles above, and Sundaresan grabs the microphone and announces that the readings will start soon, and that despite the devastating media news in the world of music journalism and beyond, he's happy that so many have gathered to hear some of his favorite music writers read their music writing.

The first reader, Kieran Press-Reynolds, announces that he was a culture reporter at Insider "until today, so I'm here to celebrate unemployment with yall," and the crowd cheers. Shouting out Pitchfork editors Ryan Dombal and Jillian Mapes, he tells us about dadaist music cultures that are developing online. Then Mankaprr Conteh read from her Rolling Stone cover story about SZA ("I'm a reformed theater kid, so I live for this"), and Alphonse Pierre read his profile of Cash Cobain, the New York drill savant that he drove from Queens to downtown Manhattan with in preparation for his show at the Bowery Ballroom, his hands slippery with pizza grease.

Last week, it seemed like music journalism was down for the count—I thought that maybe the idea that people want to read other peoples' critical reactions to music was just a circumstantial glitch of the past century. But somehow, just a week later, I found myself looking around at a sold out room full of people who had come just to hear people read music journalism on their phones. Music is communal, and so are our reactions to it. Even in the absence of an industry, people might still care.

I'm looking around at these links and seeing the present of journalism:

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