Once upon a time, my Tumblr Dashboard was full of writing about music. I started a Tumblr with my friend Steve in the spring of 2008, and at first it was the random short-form tumblog I thought that Tumblr wanted from us. But owing first to Steve’s departure for law school, and my own all-consuming passion for music news and criticism, Crumbler gradually became a place to thinks about songs and artists and the strange collisions between them. In part, that was because my Tumblr Dashboard had been taken over by music writers, or writers who wrote mostly about music: perpetua, agrammar, tomewing, maura, barthel, tombreihan, and twentyfourbit, to name some. Many of those writers had grown famous on other platforms. But Tumblr also helped to nurture a new generation of music writers — some who were enthusiastic hobbyists, like hamtunes, and softcommunication, and 1000xpm; and some who would go on to write for Pitchfork, Time, and many other established music publications. Music writing was always a hobby for me, and as I grew older it became less important to me. Crumbler posts these days are now few and far between, and are mostly reblogs. Good reblogs! But reblogs nonetheless.
At some point I had the idea of reaching out to some of my favorite writers and ask them a bunch of questions about Music Tumblr, in hopes of putting together an “oral history” that was actually an “email history.” I reached out to a dozen or so people and just about everybody responded. The only people who did not respond, unfortunately, were the women writers that I contacted, and I felt really bad about that, and shelved the project for a couple months. But now that folks like markrichardson and popcornnoises are talking about the death of Music Tumblr I felt like I should just let you know what I found out through my half-assed journalism, because the writers who did respond were generous with their time and brilliant, as ever, in their responses. What follows makes no claim to be totally representative, and acknowledges that there are many still people on Tumblr writing well about music.
What follows are 2,500 or so words about the life and death of what some folks, myself included, are presumptuously calling Music Tumblr. It died for four main reasons:
Glad to be a part of this. Not sure if I miss those days or am glad they’re over, but they sure were fun at the time.