The ratings are not assigned lightly. “Over and over we revisit decisions before they’re on the site,” said Scott Plagenhoef, the editor in chief. Albums are discussed via e-mail and on a staff message board. The review is then assigned to a writer trusted to deliver the group’s opinion. Reviews have individual bylines, but they represent the Pitchfork hive-mind.
And Pitchfork is still happy to take down a big name every now and again. The new Eminem album received a 2.8, and the new M.I.A. album received a 4.4. A low rating still makes for good conversation, though, and page views. M.I.A. is one of the site’s prominent advertisers this week.