The Needle Drop
|Slogan||"The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd"|
Type of site
|Created by||Anthony Fantano|
|Launched||2007 (text reviews)
2009 (video reviews)
|152,048 (February 2015[update])|
The Needle Drop is a blog/vlog created and run by Anthony Fantano // (born October 28, 1985), self-described as "the Internet's Busiest Music Nerd", in which he examines "rock, pop, electronic, metal, hip hop and experimental music of the independent persuasion," via video and audio reviews. The blog started in the fall of 2007, with video reviews beginning in February 2009. The blog reviews albums, individual songs in a segment called "Track Reviews" (stylized as "TRKRVWZ"), and occasionally a "Question of the Week" or list based video. His reviews often contain brief skits, usually involving his musically oblivious roommate, Cal Chuchesta.
The Needle Drop's YouTube channel currently has over 480,000 subscribers, and more than 90 million upload views. The channel was voted as September 2011's 'On The Rise' contest winner, a program by YouTube. His competitors were Pineapple Boy Productions, The Uncut Sports Show and Simple Kids Crafts. In October 2011, Fantano won the 'Beyond the Blog' award at the MTV O Music Awards. The logo art and website design was created by Juan Larrazabal.
Background and history
Fantano grew up in Connecticut and as a child had a desire to become a cartoonist, stating he was a fan of The Simpsons and that he still enjoys cartoons from today such as Adventure Time and Regular Show. Fantano was introduced to independent music in the early 2000s which eventually influenced him to start The Needle Drop. "I had a friend of mine on Livejournal–lol, I know–back in the early 00s who used to do these long writeups about certain artists and she turned me on to a few that were pretty great. It made me want to do the same, share the musical experience on the internet. It didn’t really turn into "reviews" until I tried doing YouTube in 2009, which I only did as an experiment because my blog and podcast were making much traction at the time." Fantano started his career in the mid 2000s as a music director for the Southern Connecticut State University college radio station. He stated "I’ve always loved music, but working there got me turned in to a lot of different styles, and got me pushing my tastes into different areas".
In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop. That same year, Fantano also launched The Needle Drop in text reviews, eventually starting as video reviews in 2009. Fantano, at the time, was working on The Needle Drop, at the college radio station and at a pizza restaurant. In late 2011, Fantano decided to pursue The Needle Drop full-time and therefore, he had quit working at the pizza restaurant. "It wasn’t really a decision. It was just a matter of the show taking up so much of my time and making me enough money to sustain myself. I was quitting a job where I was cooking pizza, so it wasn’t that hard of a decision. I love the people who I used to work with, and I was working with a lot of them for ten years, but they understand this is my passion and my own thing that I have to pursue" he said.
In 2011, Fantano was interviewed at SXSW about the rise of music vlogging, along with Sami Jarroush of the Rock It Out! Blog, and Michael Roffman, president and editor-in-chief of Consequence of Sound. In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging. The Needle Drop is also an iTunes podcast  featuring artists and albums reviewed on The Needle Drop YouTube channel.
The blog rates albums and tracks on a scale from 0 to 10, with an accompanying adjective, either "light," "decent," or "strong," for further specification to its score. Occasionally he will do parody reviews of albums such as Born This Way by Lady Gaga, Unknown Death 2002 by Yung Lean, Mastermind by Rick Ross and Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean, the latter which initially received a No/No rating. However, he did an actual review of Dark Sky Paradise with ARTV, another YouTube reviewer, giving it a rating of 2/5.  The blog's site also includes a "loved list" section, featuring a list of albums and tracks which were scored 8/10 and above when they were reviewed.
The first contemporary album to receive a 10/10 was Death Grips' major label debut The Money Store released in 2012. Fantano had previously given classic albums such as Pink Flag by Wire, and Raw Power by The Stooges a perfect score. In 2014, as an April Fools' joke, two reviews were released of Planningtorock's third studio album All Love's Legal. The first review gave the album a 10/10, stating "This is one of the greatest albums ever!". However, the second review gave the album a 0/10, stating "This is one of the worst albums ever!". For his April Fools' joke in 2015, he made a video announcing that Cal Chuchesta had died as a result of Fantano not giving Death Grips' studio album The Powers That B a 10/10. The second contemporary album to receive a 10/10 was Swans' studio album To Be Kind released in 2014., followed by Kendrick Lamar's studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly in 2015.
Annual favorite releases
Album of the year
|Year||Artist||Album||Nation||Top 5 Albums||Ref.|
|2009||Fever Ray||Fever Ray||Sweden|||
|2010||LCD Soundsystem||This Is Happening||United States|||
|2011||Fleet Foxes||Helplessness Blues||United States|||
|2012||Death Grips||The Money Store||United States|||
|2013||Tim Hecker||Virgins||United States|||
|2014||Swans (band)||To Be Kind||United States|||
EP of the year
|2010||The Tallest Man on Earth||Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird||Sweden|||
|2011||Nicolas Jaar||Don't Break My Love||United States|||
|2013||Milo||Things That Happen At Day||United States|||
|2014||Girl Talk & Freeway||Broken Ankles||United States|||
Single of the year
|2010||LCD Soundsystem||"I Can Change"||United States|||
|2011||Fleet Foxes||"Helplessness Blues"||United States|||
|2012||Death Grips||"The Fever (Aye Aye)"||United States|||
|2013||The Knife||"A Tooth for an Eye"||Sweden|||
|2014||Liars||"Mess on a Mission"||United States|||
The following albums are considered "classic" music releases by The Needle Drop, reviewed on its YouTube channel during a yearly segment known as Classics Week:
- A Album will be in the Classics Week segment at the end of the year, but was released early as a review only to be given to fans that donated at least $5 USD to The Needle Drop.
Rated 10s albums
|2012||Death Grips||The Money Store||United States|||
|2014||Swans||To Be Kind||United States|||
|2015||Kendrick Lamar||To Pimp a Butterfly||United States|||
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- "Interview at SXSW".
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- "Lady Gaga- Born This Way ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. May 24, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- "Yung Lean - Unknown Death 2002 MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. July 17, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- "(april fools...except cal is dead!!!) Changing some scores to 10". April 1, 2015.
- "Anthony Fantano's Top 15 Albums of 2009".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2010".
- "Favorite Albums of 2011".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2012".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2013".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2014".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2010".
- "Favorite EPs of 2011".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2012".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2013".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2014".
- "Top-50 Tracks / Songs of 2010".
- "Favorite Singles of 2011".
- "Top-50 Singles of 2012".
- "Top-50 Singles of 2013".
- "Top-50 Singles of 2014".
- "Roland Kirk - I Talk With the Spirits ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT!".
- "Nina Simone - Pastel Blues ALBUM REVIEW".
- "The Velvet Underground & Nico - Self-Titled ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Frank Zappa- Hot Rats ALBUM REVIEW".
- "King Crimson- In the Court of the Crimson King ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Miles Davis- Bitches Brew ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Marvin Gaye- What's Going On".
- "Yes - Close To The Edge EARLY ACCESS REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT!".
- "Tangerine Dream - Phaedra EXCLUSIVE CLASSIC REVIEW ALERT!!!".
- "Kraftwerk- Trans-Europe Express".
- "Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Kate Bush - Hounds of Love ALBUM REVIEW".
- "NWA - Straight Outta Compton EXCLUSIVE / EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW ALERT!!!".
- "Fugazi - Repeater ALBUM REVIEW".
- "My Bloody Valentine- Loveless ALBUM REVIEW".
- "A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Slint - Spiderland EXCLUSIVE / EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW ALERT!!!".
- "Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers ALBUM REVIEW".
- "DJ Shadow - Endtroducing EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW".
- "Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Madvillain- Madvillainy ALBUM REVIEW".
- Fantano, Anthony (2012-04-23). "The Money Store Review". The Needle Drop. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- "Swans - To Be Kind ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly ALBUM REVIEW".