I'm been there. In fact, I was "made redundant" at GUITAR PLAYER (along with tons of fine editors and staffers) when new owners Future U.K. assessed the revenue streams and expenses and determined that a leaner, lighter, and less-staffed ship might not sink.
So, yeah, a significant amount of media brands struggle to maintain ad support, readers, and cultural relevance. And many of those brands choose to deploy clickbait to (hopefully) increase traffic to their websites and social networks.
Personally, I kind of enjoy "what-is-promised-is-what-you-get" clickbait such as "Former Hollywood Megastars Who Are Now Working Normal Jobs," "Unseen Woodstock Photos," or "10 of the Best French-Italian Garage Bands You've Never Heard."
But let's look at today's less-honest and less-accurate clickbait:
"Mick Jagger Ripped By Big Name for Bedroom Performance"
Hmmm. The sexy singer causing sexual controversy? Nope. The rich rocker wants a new mattress whenever he checks into a hotel. And the big name? Some person called "Mattress Mick."
"AC/DC Member Brutally Attacked by Angus Young"
Not anyone reportedly prepping for the reportedly maybe re-emergence of the band. Simply an ages-old report about Angus losing his temper and fighting with his brother Malcolm. Snore.
"Slash Family Makes Sad Drug Smoking Revelation"
Not about Slash, despite the inference. It's about his brother. And not sad, really. It just appears that Slash's brother finds it "depressing" to get good weed in Japan. Snore.
I could go on, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about here.
On one level, it's all slightly humorous drivel for bored music fans to chip away at that boredom, and hopefully enrich the website selling the drivel if traffic spikes. Gotta sell those ad banners!
On another level, however, it is senseless, inaccurate, not-so-sneaky commercial prattle posing as "information." It's curated, as well, and some social wizards actually get paid a fair amount of money to seek out and repurpose interview and/or news snippets that might seduce clicks.
None of this is going away anytime soon, but I shed a few tears every day for where "music journalism" has sadly evolved, as well as for those of us who keep these kinds of "non-information peddlers" doing what they do, because clickbait works.
But maybe I'm just a grumpy old journalist. What's your view...