Altered Zones is Pitchfork Media’s newest project. It is their attempt at creating a filter for an entire world of music, consisting of the experimental and lo-fi movement. Both of which have enjoyed a spirited revival in the last 4 years.
From a money/power perspective Altered Zones is a brilliant move on Pitchforks part. They have further cemented their role as THE BLOG to read on emerging music as they have fashioned themselves as curators of this mass of creativity that is the experimental music world.
Of course this experimental lo-fi movement has always been around and been championed by music aficionados but with the advent of accessible audio equipment and painless distribution thousands of kids with Garageband and a high speed connection are now experimental music creators. Many of them have something to say, and although they may not be worthy of Pitchforks Best New Music stamp they are worthy of a listen on the Altered Zones playlist.
So Altered Zone aimes to be the first place you look to get a selection of the cream of the crop within the lo-fi, experimental world. In theory many users will still read their favourite blog for that blogs own take on new music but if someone wants a sampling of the best they now have Altered Zones.
In many ways it should be no one else to become the filter for this world other than Pitchfork. I wasn’t a zealot of lo-fi music until I heard about bands like No Age and Wavves from Pitchfork, both of which have become much more than simple passing blog remarks thanks to the help of Pitchfork.
So by legitimizing bands who are making lo-fi and experimental music with increased accolades and exposure, Pitchfork legitimizes all the blogs that are covering it. Getting everyone more views and more cash from their ads. Then when Altered Zones was created, calling up and asking those blogs for content didn’t look too evil. Which brings us to the monetary potential of Altered Zones.
The advertisement real estate space on Pitchfork.com is limited at best as they work to keep a reasonable ads to content ration. And with Pitchforks dominance of large groups of music loving, money spending, humans aged 13-40, I’m sure that more than a few people have been concerned about hitting the dreaded ad-supported real estate ceiling. By launching a music site with such actively updated content (read: more pages for more ads) the revenue potentials could be big.
Pitchfork is obviously making concentrated efforts at becoming something like the RollingStone of generation Y. And with the cultural imprint pretty much completed they now can concerntrate on becoming massively bloated with cash and rock lore. They already have a sold out music festival, Pitchfork.TV, and the rock solid Pitchfork.com which still is God Head to massive audience.
Altered Zones is a definite move toward owning a larger share of the music buying audience if not for now than for the future.
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