If you have read any music writing at all online in the past 20 years, there’s a very good chance you have encountered Mark Richardson in some way. As a long-time writer and editor for Pitchfork, Richardson has been reviewing records for one of the internet’s top music sites for two decades. But he’s arguably had more impact as a mentor to countless music critics, many of whom paid tribute to Mark when he announced earlier this year that he was departing Pitchfork after serving as executive editor and editor-in-chief since 2011.
Now that Richardson is no longer employed by Pitchfork — he plans to teach and write a new book — I figured I would invite him on the podcast for an exit interview of sorts. Thankfully, he agreed.
Not only does Mark give an insider account of Pitchfork’s early days, we also talked about the many ways that music writing has changed since the late ’90s and early ’00s. In short, social media changed everything — it was once possible to write something totally silly and brave (and even kind of brilliant) in a record review and have it come and go like the proverbial felled tree in the forest. Things are different now, of course — better in some ways, worse in others. But Mark was thoughtful about all of it.