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Music Marketing Author and Course Instructor

Blog Post
Note To Self: Do Not Start A Music Print Publication

Posted on 3/17/2008

Following hot on the heels of No Depression’s announcement that they were closing up shop, Harp Magazine, another one of my favorites, announced this AM that they too were ceasing publication.

From my old contact there, Jake Flack:

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I am very sorry to tell you that, effective March 20, 2008, I will no longer be the Associate Publisher of Harp. Because of the declining revenues and increasing costs related to print publishing, Harp is discontinuing publishing as of that date. The March/April issue (with Dave Grohl on the cover) will be the last issue printed and distributed. The company is shutting down operations and will not be publishing the May issue.

It’s been my distinct pleasure to work with all of you. For the past five years I’ve been very fortunate to work with so many wonderful people who are dedicated to putting out and promoting great music. I’ve always felt that Harp provided a first class platform for giving independent music a voice that otherwise might not have been heard. We were able to do that because our advertisers shared that vision.

I apologize for the mass email but time dictates this rather impersonal notice. Best of luck to everyone and thank you so much for everything!

Jake

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It’s always a drag to see another positive entity in the music business go down, but I suppose I am not incredibly surprised. When I think of the parties and folks at SXSW that made an impression on me, much of it was online focused: Ioda’s party on 6th and Red River, Imeem’s event, the Ourstage folks, and so on. Similar to mid-level indie labels, I think mid-level music print mags are in for a tough haul, in particular those that are not making a serious push for online business. Online businesses with marketing dollars prefer to spend it on online advertising: certainly keyword buys, but also newsletter affiliation, banner ads, and contextual marketing. With online marketing, you can pinpoint exactly how successful a particular campaign is, and more importantly, online marketing folks know that it is easier to attract someone that is already online than it is to to attract someone that is offline. To survive these days, Harp and others need to monetize their online efforts by creating an online community, that A) folks want to be part of, and B) advertisers see value in.

Those that are not evolving are going to be left behind…

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