You may have heard that Pitchfork are in trouble this week, but what exactly is going on over at the music publication?

Pitchfork are one of the most recognised music publications on the web. Sadly, they are facing a number of layoffs as they merge with the men’s magazine GQ.

Amongst those to go will be Editor In Chief Puja Patel, who took over from Pitchfork founder Ryan Schrieber in 2018. Schrieber founded the indie music publication in 1996. The decision to merge the companies was made by Condé Nast, who owns both Pitchfork and GQ.

Condé Nast’s Chief Content Officer, Anna Wintour said that the decision had been made “after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork’s performance”. The suggestion from her and Condé Nast is that the publication has been facing some struggles in recent years as publications lose tempo amongst readers.

Winter wrote in a memo: “Today we are evolving our Pitchfork team structure by bringing the team into the GQ organization. This decision was made after a careful evaluation of Pitchfork’s performance and what we believe is the best path forward for our brand so that our coverage of music can continue to thrive within the company.

“Both Pitchfork and GQ have unique and valuable ways that they approach music journalism, and we are exciting for the new possibilities together.” She said that staff at Pitchfork would hear “more about their reporting structure in meetings this week”, adding: “Some of our Pitchfork colleagues will be leaving the company today.”

Social media and platforms like YouTube have changed the landscape for music journalism drastically. Traditional music blogs have lost favour with younger audiences who are more likely to find niche tastemakers than subscribe to a larger publication for music reviews and updates.

However, some argue that the layoffs aren’t simply down to Pitchfork’s potentially dwindling popularity. Critics of Condé Nast’s decision have described it as “the latest example of media conglomerates prioritising capital over culture”.

Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch confirmed the company was looking to lay off around 300 employees across their business, or 5% of their workforce, in November. The layoffs at Pitchfork come with an extra layer of pain for staff, who were assured in December that Condé Nast’s cuts would not affect Pitchfork. The Pitchfork Union wrote that this reveals “just how untrustworthy Condé Nast management is”.

They added: “The reporters, editors, producers, researchers, and all the people who make award-winning journalism for Pitchfork deserved better than to be treated like disposable parts.”