Not surprisingly, Pitchfork.tv has quickly become a really impressive operation — one of the better, and certainly my favorite, experiments in independently produced online video. But is it sustainable? Even with a relatively small staff and a collection of smart stringers (which they obviously have), I wonder about the site’s prospects. Video, especially the sort of nicely produced video that’s the site’s specialty, takes a greater investment than text. The webcam trash that litters YouTube works because it doesn’t require much attention — you can watch it for 15 seconds and then click away. Pitchfork’s productions, in contrast, look good. The site’s prospects aren’t helped by the fact that, due to blocking systems, lack of speakers, and Pitchfork’s occasionally unsafe-for-the-office content, watching video at work tends to be more difficult than reading text. Call me a negative Nancy, but I’m always skeptical that depth and quality will find enough of an audience to survive, especially on the web.
My impression is that despite general agreement that the site is pretty swell, it hasn’t made much of an impact. And indeed, the stats at Compete.com indicate the video site’s traffic is extremely weak in comparison to the magazine. That’s not conclusive, and maybe they’ve got a business model that will keep it alive without massive traffic. That’d be nice, but I’m not hopeful.
I’m not a huge fan of !!!‘s recent work, but this video of their performance at the Pitchfork Festival is pretty hot. Check out those short shorts! You can’t say Joe Pompeo didn’t warn us. What will hipsters think of next? I await the next issue of the Observer with baited breath.