Significant layoffs announced at Pitchfork amid merger with GQ

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Several senior staff members at Pitchfork have been made redundant, as part of “restructuring” by owners Condé Nast — who announced plans to fold the music publication into mens fashion magazine GQ.

The news was made public yesterday (January 17) by Semafor media reporter Max Tani, who shared an email from Condé Nast’s chief content officer Anna Wintour addressed to staff.

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

Staff at the legacy outlet – which has been running since 1996 – now face mass layoffs as the magazine merges with GQ, per the email, stating that “some of our Pitchfork colleagues will be leaving the company today.”

Read this next: Trax Magazine is closing after 26 years

“Both Pitchfork and GQ have unique and valuable ways that they approach music journalism, and we are excited for the new possibilities together,” Wintour writes.

Amongst the layoffs is Pitchfork’s editor-in-chief, Puja Patel, as well as several other senior staff members. It’s currently unclear how many members of staff have been made redundant thus far, although many have taken to Twitter to express sadness and anger over the news.

“I’ve referred to my job at Pitchfork as being on a ferris wheel at closing time, just waiting for them to yank me down,” said features editor Jillian Mapes on Twitter.

“After nearly 8 yrs, mass layoffs got me. Glad we could spend that time trying to make it a less dude-ish place just for GQ to end up at the helm.”

Pitchfork’s founder and former editor-in-chief also took to Twitter following the news yesterday, writing: “Extremely saddened by the news that Condé Nast has chosen to restructure Pitchfork and lay off so much of its staff, including some who’ve been integral to its operations for many years/decades.”

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Dan Le Sac, who famously received a 0.2 out of 10 review for his album ‘Angles’ with Scroobius Pip, said via Twitter: “Pitchfork getting gutted is a net negative for musicians everywhere. And I say that as the proud owner of (potentially) the lowest score on the site.”

Pitchfork is the latest music platform to face layoffs in troubling times for music journalism. 2023 saw the closure of gal-dem, a print and online publication by women and non-binary people of colour. British rock music magazine Rock Sound also faced mass layoffs in 2023.

Another notable publication closure in the years before is Q Magazine, a seminal rock music outlet which closed in 2020 after 34 years. French music publication Trax Magazine was also shuttered in 2023 after 26 years.

This week, FACT Magazine announced the end of its long-standing and trailblazing mix series after 16 years, telling fans that it will “no longer continue in its current iteration.”

Read some comments from former Pitchfork employees below.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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Written by: Tim Hopkins

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