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Music Marketing Author and Course Instructor

Blog Post
It's So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Posted on 2/20/2008

Yes, I was humming the Boyz II Men song when I wrote that title.

I got an email yesterday announcing that one of my favorite magazines is ceasing publication. I've been a fan of No Depression, an amazing pub mostly covering the alt-country world (the magazine was named after the debut record from Uncle Tupelo, the band Jeff Tweedy was in prior to forming Wilco) since 1998 when I started advertising there for Rykodisc. The editorial was great, and the folks running it were absolute pleasures to deal with.

We all know the Internet has changed the music and publishing industries forever, and No Depression really was caught in the perfect storm between the two. The editors wrote a goodbye letter of sorts, which laid out their dilemma:advertising revenue in this issue is 64% of what it was for our March- April issue just two years ago. We expect that number to continue to decline.

The longer answer involves not simply the well-documented and industry wide reduction in print advertising, but the precipitous fall of the music industry. As a niche publication, ND is well insulated from reductions in, say, GM’s print advertising budget; our size meant they weren’t going to buy space in our pages, regardless.

On the other hand, because we’re a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels. We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.

That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand. It seems clear at this point that whatever businesses evolve to replace (or transform) record labels will have much less need to advertise in print.

The decline of brick and mortar music retail means we have fewer newsstands on which to sell our magazine, and small labels have fewer venues that might embrace and hand-sell their music. Ditto for independent bookstores. Paper manufacturers have consolidated and begun closing mills to cut production; we’ve been told to expect three price increases in 2008. Last year there was a shift in postal regulations, written by and for big publishers, which shifted costs down to smaller publishers whose economies of scale are unable to take advantage of advanced sorting techniques.”

I get a lot of my music news updates from RSS feeds from maybe a dozen or so outlets, but I love kicking back with Paste, Magnet, Harp and No Depression as well. As Barack Obama says, change is what's happening, but in the case of No Depression, it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

 

Blog Index

Interview with Don Passman
    posted 11/18/2009

Clay Shirky on Social Media
    posted 8/6/2009

Covering an Entire Album in a Day
    posted 6/18/2009

Goodbye Jay Bennett
    posted 5/26/2009

This Old Argument Again
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How to Get Your Music in TV and Film
    posted 3/24/2009

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Changes at Touch and Go
    posted 2/19/2009

Estelle Bennett – Ronettes
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Radiohead at the Grammy Awards
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Apple and the Replacement Cycle
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Lessig on Colbert
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Using uStream to Host a Webcast
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Top 20 Online Promotions for October
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Talk About Leveraging New Technology!
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How To Sell Music On Your Website
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The Word of Mouth Manual Volume II
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SXSW Interviews
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Record Store Day
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SXSW
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Why I am a fan of TuneCore
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How to get your music on iTunes
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The Trouble with the Future of Radio
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More losses at Big Box retail
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The (growing) Cost of Doing Business
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iTunes drops price of DRM-free music
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Instant Music
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Very Legit iTunes Rival
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Does Street Date Still Matter?
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