That’s what NPR’s music critic Ann Powers proposed on Twitter today, an idea that dovetails with what I wrote yesterday about Conde Nast buying Pitchfork for its “very passionate audience of Millennial males.” To recap: Pitchfork employs a number of female critics and covers all sorts of artists—and yet to a lot of advertisers, what matters is that it has an overwhelmingly male readership.
This fits with the history of rock magazines, Powers wrote: “In advertising terms all music mags have been classified as men’s mags since the early 1970s at least. … This is a bigger issue, transcending one dude’s quote. If you look at 1970s rock mags they are very close to Playboy/Penthouse in many ways.” She pointed out that Spin was founded by the son of Penthouse’s founder, Blender was spun off of Maxim, and mags like Creem often took cues from Playboy.
With the hashtag #allmusicmagsaremensmags, Powers shared some choice findings from ‘70s rock rags:
And then there was outright homophobia pic.twitter.com/FlvX1rBNvq— annkpowers (@annkpowers) October 14, 2015
Jezebel’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd jumped in:
RE @annkpowers timeline—but lotta women editors still don't get enough credit for hiring diverse staffs full of women, arguably cuz...— J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) October 14, 2015
...they were doing so at mags like Vibe & the Source. Shout to Danyel Smith, Mimi Valdes, Kim Osorio, so many more.— J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) October 14, 2015
Back to Powers:
The heroic women who have worked at these mags have always been a counteroffensive— annkpowers (@annkpowers) October 14, 2015
But it is hard to battle perceived market forces and demographics. Rock esp has always been marketed as a masculine product. Pop, feminine— annkpowers (@annkpowers) October 14, 2015