Monday brought big news for two men’s magazines. First, The New York Times reported that Playboy will stop publishing images of naked women. Then, The New York Times reported that Pitchfork has been bought by Conde Nast.
Yes, Pitchfork—the music-reviews website/video studio/concert organizer/print magazine—is a men’s publication, at least to hear Conde Nast’s Chief Digital Officer Fred Santarpia tell it: The acquisition brings “a very passionate audience of Millennial males into our roster,” he said to the Times.
On Twitter, the amount of ire directed at his comment quickly seemed to eclipse any other sort of reaction to the news that the most influential music publication to emerge in the Internet age, one closely associated with the word “independent,” was being bought by the old-media home to Vogue, The New Yorker, Allure, and more than a dozen other titles. The backlash comes in part from a fact of timing: Though Pitchfork has faced criticism over the years for white-dude-centricism, lately it’s diversified its bylines and stepped up its coverage of gender, race, and identity (sample headlines: “Riot Grrrl and Queerness in the American South”; “Sex Positivity in the Music of Bob’s Burgers”; “The 13 Best Songs About Women Masturbating”). Besides, its mission is to champion music, period—and contrary to certain sexist stereotypes, members of both genders can and do obsess over the same bands. “Women are a huge part of Pitchfork’s staff and readership,” Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber tweeted in response to the outcry. “We’re totally about reaching all music fans everywhere.”