Ex-Spin senior associate editor Dave Itzkoff‘s take on the magazine’s demise, somewhat buried in a story about influential rock music Web site Pitchfork in this month’s Wired music issue, a must-read in its own right:
I should probably mention that Pitchfork also helped put me out of a job. From 2002 until just recently, I was an editor at Spin, a magazine that was itself once positioned as a much-needed substitute for the entrenched rock journalism establishment. Spin’s influence peaked in the early ’90s, when alt-rock acts like Nirvana started going multiplatinum. But as that scene receded, the magazine struggled to find its identity: In one incarnation, it would sing the praises of nu-metalheads like Korn and Limp Bizkit; in the next, it would pin its hopes on garage-rock revivalists like the Strokes and the White Stripes.
As Pitchfork’s influence grew, we consulted the site as both a resource and a measuring stick if it was lavishing attention on a new band, we at least had to ask ourselves why we weren’t doing the same: By then, our value as a trustworthy and consistent filter had waned. The trouble we had at Spin was that although there were still new and emerging indie-rock acts worth getting excited about, none would ever be big enough to sell a magazine that had to reach half a million consumers every month just to stay alive. But Pitchfork thrives in this new climate.