Pitchfork Media

Peek inside indie rock's biggest tastemaker.

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  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Pitchfork founder and CEO Ryan Schreiber, front right, enjoys being in the thick of things: "I feel like if I'm working in a private office, I may as well be working at home," he explains. "The ability [for someone] to turn around and ask me a question or have a discussion about the music [they're] into is really nice."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "[You can] mesh work and social lifestyles together," says senior account manager Justin Fluck. "A lot of times, labels will bring records here, and we'll listen and have a few drinks," he says of the uncharacteristically unstuffy meetings held in the office's front room.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "I've had that Master of Puppets tapestry since I was 13," says Schreiber, pointing to the office's wall of original album artwork, which is also peppered with more current acts such as Jay Reatard, Grizzly Bear and Stereolab. "It was in my bedroom as a kid. It's absolutely, filthily disgusting."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "Intonation was our very first festival in Chicago," Schreiber says. The event spawned the Pitchfork Music Festival, the annual weekend-long fest that started the following summer and has since become a destination  for indie-rock fans worldwide.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Executive producer RJ Bentler has been with Pitchfork.tv since its inception; previously, he shot the Intonation Festival as a freelance videographer. "I was working at 30 Rock on a horrendous reality pilot about these housewives in suburban Atlanta," he says. "Ryan called me, we had lunch, and he offered me the job to sort of help start this---I quit 30 Rock the next day. We've always been trying to find interesting conceptual platforms where we can showcase the artists in ways that you can't in print."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    The Pitchfork team occasionally hosts gigs and parties in its office, including two alcohol-brand-sponsored bashes shot for Pitchfork.tv last year featuring performances by Beach Fossils and Dom. "We clear out the space and kind of turn it into a venue," says Schreiber.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "We just kind of turn around and throw 'em a little bit, play catch when we have down time," says Bentler of Pitchfork.tv's Wiffle balls.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "[The rapper] Killer Mike came to my apartment building, and we shot him in my freight elevator," says Pitchfork.tv video editor and Bushwick resident Mark Zemel of a recent  shoot. "He [was] hanging out in my living room. That was awesome."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    A whiteboard detailing new and upcoming projects for the site.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "We used to have this series called One Week Only, where we'd [stream] feature films or longer-form concerts," says Bentler, pointing to the shelves of DVDs behind him.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "This is the manuscript for our book, The Pitchfork 500," says Schreiber, holding up the edits. The tome (November 2008, Fireside) is a bound roundup of Pitchfork's favorite songs from 1977 to 2006. Like its much-debated best-of-the-year lists, he says picking the tunes is "a group effort [where] we all vote."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "It's nice to have it not be completely quiet all the time," says Fluck of Pitchfork's chatty, play-tunes-at-your-desk atmosphere. "I've found that to be an eerie thing at other jobs, when you walk in and everyone [has] headphones [on]."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Snagging albums before they leak and going to free concerts are just some of the amazing perks at Pitchfork, enthuses features editor Ryan Dombal.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "I'm, like, 35. A lot of people get to my age and they start to recede into the music from their childhood or their teenage years, and start to glorify it," says Schreiber. "I think it's more interesting to be aware, and surround yourself with new music. You can go see the shows, you can listen to the records as they come out, you can hear a band's discography as it evolves."

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    "It never really gets old," says Bentler of his many Pitchfork.tv shoots. "You find yourself in Spain, hanging out with James Blake, or in Norway with Bon Iver and Justin Vernon."

Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Pitchfork founder and CEO Ryan Schreiber, front right, enjoys being in the thick of things: "I feel like if I'm working in a private office, I may as well be working at home," he explains. "The ability [for someone] to turn around and ask me a question or have a discussion about the music [they're] into is really nice."

Pitchfork.com was launched in 1996 by Ryan Schreiber when he had just graduated from high school and was working at a record store; these days, a rave review on the site can practically guarantee a band's success. But while most would assume the atmosphere at the indie music bible is self-important and smug, it's actually laid-back and celebratory. In 2005, the small company (made up of 30 employees in its Chicago and Brooklyn offices) curated its first music festival in Chicago and the following year branched out with its annual weekend-long Pitchfork Music Festival. Two years later, the company opened a Manhattan office, and a year after that came a second location—a two-floor loft in Greenpoint that's just off the BQE. The casual vibe here is intentional, explains Schreiber, who sits among his local staff of about 15 . He favors "[constant] discussion about the music [everyone's] into," made easier with a massive, Pitchfork-exclusive server of unreleased tunes.

"I knew that I wanted to start doing video stuff," says Schreiber. "In New York, you just have a lot more access to artists earlier, because bands will often play a few New York shows, and then return to wherever they're from." That "video stuff" became Pitchfork.tv, a free-of-charge online channel that programs cool original series like Don't Look Down (where outfits play on an NYC roof), Pitchfork 3D (a performance experience complete with glasses) and, as of early this month, the second installment of its Surveillance series, which was shot in hotels in Harlem and Brooklyn and features security-video footage of bands rocking out. These Q&A and performances just look fun too, especially compared with other music sites. So what's the secret? "We booze 'em up really good before the set," laughs Pitchfork.tv's executive producer RJ Bentler.

Wanna work here?
The company is always looking for graphic and video interns to help out with Pitchfork.tv (its two most recent hires started as interns), and plans to bring on contributing writers in the coming months. Check in with the site for announcements and details, and send your materials to jobs@pitchfork.com.

Users say

1 comments
HotblackDesiato
HotblackDesiato

Using a MacBook appears to be a job requirement. Also, the vinyl lovers at Pitchfork apparently don't know that setting your turntable directly on top of your amp isn't the way to get good sound.