I say yes if only because I feel Anthony carries more influence (to the extent that one can measure “influence”) than a lot of the publications currently included in the critic score section. We can sit around making the “but he’s not a formal publication” argument all day long, but let’s be real that media platforms are shifting and so is the way people consume and evaluate music. I would guess the readership of vanguard publications like NME and Rolling Stone is either shrinking or has a gradually growing mean age of readers (probably both) and so continuing to rely on these alone as the basis for all critical evaluations will inevitably make that portion of AOTY seem dated.
People turn to Fantano because the video review format is often more engaging, and Fantano as a single entity is also less prone to corporate bias and trend-riding (seems like this is a big critique of post-Condé Nast Pitchfork but lmk if you disagree). I think he also makes extremely detailed evaluations of each record and is pretty clear in justifying his ratings - compare that to many of the other critic publications that will often just write a paragraph or two. Even when I disagree with his opinion it’s easy for me to follow the thinking that led him to his conclusions.
I think if there’s anything that gives his channel the feeling of illegitimacy it’s got to be his horrendous fanbase. I get that as a Youtuber he is going to be more prone to meme-ing and whatnot, but his fans are seriously worse than FJM fans. The ones that actually want to talk music are pretentious af and everyone else just posts memes (also now that the Fader controversy is over a year old I wish we’d stop with the “did you really have to say ‘some alt-right type of statement he didn’t actually say’” meme). I think as the alternate reviewer formats besides web or print publications become more popular this will also be something people get more used to.
I’m wondering if anyone has data on how a Fantano endorsement for an artist not heavily covered by publications like Pitchfork prior to his review (i.e. KKB, JPEG, Rina Sawayama) affects their streams, popularity, etc? Pitchfork’s Wikipedia page has a whole section dedicated to “Influence” and how things like a BNM rating can tangibly boost an artist’s reputation. Really curious to see how this manifests for the Fantano-core artists.
Btw I have no data to back up anything I’ve said here and also don’t care to do the research so take my opinions with a grain of salt. Swaggy.