In a bygone era there existed a purely practical reason for writing about music: in order to hear an album, you had to go to your local record store and spend $10. Music writers were responsible for informing you about how best to spend that money, which albums will suit your taste the most and which will leave you wanting more. Now, with the whole world of recorded music at our fingertips, perhaps the only practical justification is simply that we need a filter to sort through the seemingly infinite canon available to us.
However, writing about music has never been practical. It has always been inspired by something irrational within us, some visceral urge to listen to and think about music as much as possible. Music journalists do not do their work for any sort of reward other than being close to the music and interacting with it in a unique way. But for them, that is enough. The joy of connecting with a piece of music, expressing that connection, and possibly even helping someone else experience it too is the fuel that feeds the fire. With the task of music journalism comes both the power to influence how people perceive and interact with culture and the responsibility to understand the implications of that power. Music journalists are reporters, archivists, tastemakers, but above all they are just people who love music and want others to love it with them.