The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Jennifer Lucy Allan

Off The Page 2012: Critical Mass: Music Theory in the Information Age

April 2012

A panel discussion on the role of the music critic and writer in the digital age, with Mojo's Andrew Male, Simon Reynolds, and The Wire's Frances Morgan and Jennifer Lucy Allan, chaired by Anne Hilde Neset.

The advent of the blogosphere, social networking and e-books have capsized the traditional dynamics of cultural criticism. Today, anyone who wants to disseminate information or express a judgment on music has free access to the technology that will allow them to share concepts and philosophies on a global scale. But has this new theory-babble expanded the discourse around contemporary sound and music or shut it down, democratised debate or created a climate defined by wooly thinking and subjective axe-grinding?

In this public roundtable discussion, a number of the critics appearing at Off The Page, including Andrew Male (Mojo), Frances Morgan (Frieze, Sight And Sound) and Simon Reynolds, talk through the changing role of music journalism in an age of information overload. Has the proliferation of online culture and instant publishing created an opening for specialist music critics to re-emerge as expert filters, or has it rendered their theory redundant?

The Wire and Sound And Music's Off The Page festival took place 24–26 February at The Playhouse Theatre in Whitstable.

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