When Resident Advisor decided to appoint Whitney Wei as their new editor-in-chief back in 2021, Ears To The House wished her well. This was a person who had a pretty strong record from her time at Electronic Beats and seemed to have some new ideas – we were looking forward to seeing Wei put her stamp firmly on the publication.
But from the early days, our relationship with her has been painfully difficult – not least because the longer her reign at Resident Advisor has gone on, the less impressive her performance has been. The website claims to be some kind of vanguard for dance music culture – yet repeatedly ducks the opportunities to hold the scene to account.
Indeed, we made our concerns known from the early days – so much so that it led to dance music press doyenne Annabel Ross making vitriolic claims of misogyny against our editor. But with the news – first confirmed by First Floor – that Wei herself will officially be leaving the editor-in-chief role within a few weeks, what will her legacy be?
Ears To The House spoke with someone who worked with Resident Advisor during Wei’s time on the job – who requested anonymity for fear of future employment recriminations. They said “I think Whitney started out in this job with the best of intentions, I really do. The problem is that Resident Advisor is changing a lot at the moment, and she’s effectively now got two jobs. She’s a pretty hands-on editor when she gets the chance, but Resident Advisor needs someone who can be totally devoted to that one job, not being divided up over editing and management duties.”
When we asked what they meant by “Resident Advisor is changing a lot at the moment”, they clarified that “Just look at all the jobs being advertised by the company right now. They’re growing again in a big way. I think Ears To The House is a bit harsh about her, although I think some of your criticisms were fair. I just think it’s a shame that she won’t be involved from next year.”
And who might be in line to replace her? Well, here’s where there’s a difference – Resident Advisor don’t appear to be hiring a new editor-in-chief. At the moment, we don’t know exactly what the plan is for this – some kind of reshuffling of duties could be coming up in the New Year.
Whilst possible candidates from New York are trickier to establish due to the lack of dance music publications in the city, London offers a number of candidates. For instance, Mixmag made a number of appointments a few months ago – could their recently hired editor Patrick Hinton or his deputy Megan Townsend be tempted by the role?
Perhaps Carl Loben – who has edited DJ Mag since the summer of 1991 – could be persuaded to jump ship? What does seem likely, however, is that Resident Advisor would prefer an external candidate – this was how Wei was hired, and the publication themselves told First Floor that they are “proud of what Whitney and the editorial team have produced”.
They could hardly say anything else, though, to be fair…