Pitchfork is one of the premier music blogs. As such, a good review (or ranking) on Pitchfork can catapult an unknown act into stardom. Conversely, a poor review (or low ranking) can doom even a well-respected artist's reputation, and even sales. A 10.0 ranking is the highest score an album can get. A 0.0 means that band will be waiting tables a little while longer.
Now based out of Chicago, Pitchfork was started in Minneapolis in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber. Schreiber had just graduated high school and was looking to write about independent music. What used to be a site updated around once a month is now nothing short of a music media empire, complete with concerts and the video series, pitchfork tv.
And that's all well and good. But more than anything else, Pitchfork is the definitive kingmaker of independent music. Here's an example. In 2005, an unknown Canadian band named Arcade Fire saw their debut album, Funeral, get rave reviews from Pitchfork. And from there the band's rise was almost meteoric. An employee of the band's label puts it best: "After the Pitchfork review, Funeral went out of print for about a week because we got so many orders for the record."
Today, Arcade Fire is one of the most popular bands around. A few years after that first review, the band dominated this year's Grammys, even taking home Album of the Year. And while surely that's a credit to the band's talent, we may have never known about those talents if it weren't for Pitchfork.