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If you look at site traffic its consistantly the same across all those types of sites. HypeM, Spin, Pitchfork... They all are seeing the same downward trend.

My Theory?

Its the same thing that happened with Myspace. When you niche your editorial to the point where something becomes a "myspace band" or a "pitchfork band" you have massive growth along with the success of said genre, but you also fall as fast when that genre becomes mainstream and not as cool anymore. With the recent success of "pitchfork artists" at mainstream radio, everyone in the mainstream has access to that music. You no longer need to go to Pitchfork.com to hear about an artist like Foster The People, Vampire Weekend or Phoenix, just turn on your radio or any other mainstream media outlet.


Compete.com is a horrible reference. As much as I dislike Pitchfork, I mistrust Compete. I would suggest checking out the Quantcast numbers, which are MRC certified.


Shoddy reporting, dude.

Ben Patterson

Thanks for covering my tweet...but more worrisome is that The Hype Machine is down 70% year over year according to Compete.com

Is there a good music content aggregator? Would that help? Buzznet owns a bunch of blogs including mainstream ones and traffic is down 20% to their home site. It would be great to see some combined stats for all sites in a network like theirs.

Is it more that folks just don't have the time for music anymore? Or that music conversations have migrated to Twitter and Facebook? A fun research study would be to see what percent of tweets and public status updates contain music related content (artist name, concert, event details, links to audio, etc.).

Interesting times.

Eric Davich

Perhaps their readers have moved to Twitter and Facebook where Pitchfork now posts links to all their reviews and features. I, for instance, instead of going to Pitchfork.com every single day, follow them on Twitter and Facebook and only click-through to their site for the content that I find interesting.

Let's also not forget that some of Pitchfork's readers have moved to their sister site Altered Zones.

Also - why would you say that Hype Machine is taking Pitchfork's readers? According to Compete.com, they're a bigger decrease in traffic than Pitchfork: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/hypem.com+pitchfork.com/

Ben Patterson

Adam makes a good point - lots of measurement tools out there. I am sure Pitchfork is doing better than Compete represents.

Bruce Houghton

Fair points though I was using HypeMachine as an example of blog aggregators. Infirect traffic via Twitter, etc generally counts in these stats.

Bruce Houghton

PS: Justin may have nailed it.


Adam is right: Quantcast (a better traffic reference tool) is reporting that their numbers are actually up since last year.


I wonder how much Pitchfork's lack of comments/discussions play into this. I would go more often if I knew there was fresh social content integrated into the site.



this maybe shitty journalism at it's worst. what are you trying to get the next gawker/traffic scoop? and you use compete? christ. this isnt a joke man. you're trending on google with incorrect facts and you know people only care about the sensational, like your headline.

use comscore. comparing last april to 2011 april traffic is up.

and fuck @dashgo you're just as bad.


beginning to think @dashgo and hypebot are in cahoots too.

i mean who on the internet trusts traffic stats regardless of where they are from. even if youre a sucker and pay for comscore like us its not 100% or close to it.

but to knowingly go out and attack another site using compete and then for hypebot to not verify but to run with the story.

smells like fishy.

Eric Davich


There are a number of problems with Justin's theory.

1. Comparing Pitchfork to Myspace is a little odd especially considering that Myspace's decline can be attributed to Facebook's presence. Are you saying that mainstream media is responsible for Pitchfork's decline in traffic? Not sure I see a correlation. In fact, the reason that you're hearing Vampire Weekend via mainstream media outlets is because Pitchfork's large audience helped them grow a fanbase that rivals that of mainstream artists.

2. " When you niche your editorial... you also fall as fast when that genre becomes mainstream and not as cool anymore."

Pitchfork's only niche is high standards, just look at recent "Best New Albums" - The Antlers (dream pop/post rock); Fleet Foxes (folk rock), DJ Quik (rap). Or even Best New Tracks "Bon Iver" "Nicki Minaj" "Fucked Up" -- explain what kind of niche or genre they all fall under.

2. "You no longer need to go to Pitchfork.com to hear about an artist like Foster The People"

Pitchfork has never posted anything about Foster the People so of course you'd never need to go to their site to hear them. (http://pitchfork.com/search/?query=foster+the+people&search_type=standard)

Bruce Houghton

Fact: I am not "in cahoots with" Dashgo or Compete

Question: If a site's traffic is off by ___% on Compete or another service in April 2011 is it wrong to believe that it would be off a similar amount a year earlier. That's why I carefully wrote about % rather than hard numbers.

Bruce Houghton

Sincerely, please educate me and your fellow readers about the relative accuracy of various traffic reporting services and why.

Justin Boland

Co-sign, using Compete numbers is not a good methodology for gathering information about reality.

Eric Davich

that last point should be a number 3 not 2 (sorry)

Justin Boland


If I didn't work in SEO/inbound marketing I wouldn't have known about this either, no harm no foul. (No cahoots either.)



Quantcast uses a site installed tracking pixel which pings back to their servers. It tracks each an every visit. Compete measures traffic by people who use their toolbar, or something like that and uses that info as a sample group compared to other sites and demo.


Also - I just pulled Comscore numbers and it says Pitchfork's numbers are up 4.5% over last year. For what it's worth - I trust Quantcast numbers over Comscore numbers on accuracy.


Responding to these points

1) Myspace's decline had to do with a lot of things... Spam, Facebook having a better product etc... But at the end of the day they both inherently offered the same thing and the real knife in Myspace's back was that it just wasn't the place to be anymore... For many reasons.

...and you're absolutely correct, PFork and such 100% drove those artists to be successful and defined the genre, which is why those types of artists can be identified as "pitchfork bands", this is no slight to Pitchfork, they're great and have done amazing things for those types of bands... This is exactly my point, eventually they are so successful breaking artists that it crosses to the point where those artists are everywhere, so you no longer have to actively go to Pfork to get the information you're looking for about them, you can find it on any music or news website.

2) Pitchfork covers a wide variety of music, they even gave Converge an 8.4 (or something like that) a year or so ago... But it'd be naive to not think theres a generalization to what they're doing. There absolutely are artists they champion and those they don't. Anything someone like Subpop, Matador, Anti etc put out they'll likely cover or consider but when was the last time they covered a Fearless, Hopeless etc release? they never would because it doesn't fit with their vision for their site. I'm not saying this is right or wrong I'm merely saying they certainly have a particular editorial voice (In fact I'm glad they do, this makes total sense and is why they matter, but the fact remains this voice exists).

2) Foster The People - I just picked a name out of a hat that kind of fit the vibe, I didn't do any particular fact checking on the band names... Replace Foster The People with Man Man, Passion Pit, Fleet Foxes, whomever and you get the point I'm making.

Its important to note my post was no slight to pitchfork, its just the reality. It's the same as the iphone being exclusive to AT&T... Once Verizon came in and people had a location choice, it changed things. Its not that people don't like pitchfork, its that they get the information before even finding their way to the site because that information is now in so many other locations. They are no longer just competing with Stereogum or Spin, its not New York Times, Yahoo, mainstream radio, MTV and the speed of word of mouth.


As someone who USED to go to Pitchfork 15-20 times a day to see what they knew that was new, I have found myself simply following those sites on TWITTER a well as the bands that I love because it eliminates the bullshit associated with 75% of the stuff on Pitchfork that I consider crap. Twitter is more immediate and Pitchfork puits all the good stuff on there anyway...

Dave Park / Prefixmag.com

While Compete seems better than Alexa, Quantcast is far more accurate if a site uses their tags.

Pitchfork's numbers look fine according to Quantcast.


its not New York Times, Yahoo, mainstream radio, MTV and the speed of word of mouth.

not = now


It does raise another question though... Compete is focused on their toolbar so with their toolbar users, they aren't going to Pfork as much as before...

So Pitchfork clearly is growing with non-compete users but is shrinking with compete users... It raises the question: Whats the compete demographic?


People uninstalling/disabling the toolbar, Compete possibly using different algorithms for measurement - sample groups, phone polling, etc.


No tracking site is truly accurate but if you look at Alexa (which is what most ad companies base there rates off of) you will see that they havent dropped that much. If anything it shows a gain in the past 3 months.


that's what im saying and how easy is it to check and double check this. the main reason this is done is cause it's a hit job put on by a bunch of haters.

you guys need to update this blog post or just take it down. unreal.

im just flabbergasted by this gross negligence. i mean isnt this a tech site? can't you go to quantcast at least? it's free.

change the headline or take down the post/twitter guys, you look like clowns.


and dashgo maybe should stick to covering music and worry about his own traffic or boosting his whopping 700 followers.

to answer your question dashgo, where are all the cool kids going?" here's a hint, its not your site.


It's really really dangerous to take too much stock in Compete.com numbers. Even more dangerous than relying on Comscore numbers.

Bruce Houghton

FYI, I appreciate many of your comments and so I've updated the front page of the post with:

UPDATE: Some Hypebot readers have valid concerns with the methodolgy used by Compete, the tracking service whose stats are quoted. Please be sure to read their comments below.


You're totally wrong on Alexa. It's just as bad as Compete. Industry standard is Comscore and Quantcast is nipping at its heels.

I don't know one site (and I've worked with probably a thousand of them) who base their rates on Alexa. Not one ad agency I've ever worked with has ever accepted Alexa numbers.


How about you educate everybody here about why you're writing blog posts on subjects you don't know anything about?

Chris J

Take it easy on Bruce!


Good one. This is most likely very true!


Besides me, I never see anyone talking about music... I think it's just too personal and there aren't enough really big, successful artist's to warrant unity in discussions.

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius


I was excited to read the comments on this post when I saw that 33 people had left their thoughts, but disappointed when I saw that it was just a continuous squabble over what site had the most accurate record keeping of a site's traffic.

Could it be that people just don't care as much about music in general? NOT saying that said music isn't good, but when you live in a day and age that you can get almost any new music for free, why would you look for in depth reviews when you can just listen for yourselves or sample shortly and then decide to download for free?

Also, there is no real "scene" anymore to be a part of. Music is becoming more and more of a localized thing and too small or dispersed to be considered an "it" scene to get enough people worked up about.

Every cool thing has it's day in the spotlight and sooner or later becomes old and becomes the norm.

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

Steven Finch

Great point. Compete just run from basic numbers using their toolbars, etc. The same way as Alexa. Quantcast is very accurate because the webmaster needs to put the code on his/her site.

Pitchfork in one year has actually gone from 31 million pageviews per month.... to 38 million pageviews.

An increase!

Justin Boland

Are you kidding? If the numbers are wrong, there's nothing to discuss. The numbers were, in fact, wrong, or at the very least meaningless.

As for people not talking about music, that baffles me even more. I've been on the road for a month now and all anyone talks about is music, sports and weather. In that order.

So, that's my subjective experience -- yours is different. Neither reflects objective reality. So what is there to talk about? Get some accurate numbers, or we're all just sharing anecdotes and opinions in a vacuum here.



Eric Davich


"Hypebot claims Pitchfork traffic is down and their source is... Compete metrics? Nice try. Google, Quantcast, Comscore all show upward trend" - Ryan Schreiber (founder of Pitchfork)


I hear a lot of people are going to www.BitCandy.com It's more of a filter for indie and credible pop than an overall aggregator. Pitchfork and HypeM look fine on Alexa...but have definitely plateaued for some time but hell Pitchfork is in Top 1000 that's still huge.


Pitchfork....ha ha ha. Do people actually trust their opinion?


Pitchfork, bunch of 90's brought up lads, who think they have a f$%%$# clue about what good music is about.


Personally, I believe it's simpler: Pitchfork has lost it's coolness and is no longer speaking to the readership it once had.

Joe Karr

It's interesting but obvious. Pitchfork has turned into just another magazine whereas there are a lot of really interesting smaller sites/tools that do a better job at helping people discover new music. Sites like 8track, betterpropganda, myspoonful.com, rcrdlbl do a better job at making it EASY to find NEW music vs spewing out a bunch of stuff that's repeated all over the place in different voices.


very shoddy reporting. did you corroborate with other sources? everyone knows that compete.com is a scam!

tatil köyü kemer

very shoddy reporting. did you corroborate with other sources? everyone knows that compete.com is a scam! www.otellerx.com

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