The March-April issue of No Depression
magazine is the second-to-last issue that will be published before it shits the bed. I read the editor's letter on the subway yesterday, after buying it at Border's on Downtown Crossing where I've been buying it for the past year.
Great magazine, if you love alternative music, which is a label for music that I'm prefer to call just plain American. It's the music that's being written and played in America, divorced from the big corporate music world, particularly in Nashville.
The reason for the 'zine folding seems two-fold. Advertising is down, which is where a magazine earns its keep. And the music industry itself is in flux, and the before mentioned advertisers would be the labels, major and minor I suppose, and they don't know which end is up right now. They don't know how to run their businesses right now, and advertising (or media) budgets are critical pieces of the mix. I can understand what happened in the music industry to a degree, but you can't blame it all on the digital world and downloads. A lot of it was shear greed. The price of a CD is still upwards of 18 bucks or more. I still buy CDs, and probably will for awhile. I have an iPod, and download, and while I like being able to buy just one song rather than a whole album, there's still nothing like the quality of my home stereo playing a CD.
And I don't think what the labels get is that the business model has changed so dramatically, and like so many other dinosaurs, they just keep doing the same thing over and over again even though they're not getting the results they want. They are just dumb, dumb, dumb. Money is going to be in concert and beer sales and t-shirts and shit like that, and I learned about so many new artists through No Depression
and yes, then went out and bought CDs and told all my friends about them because I get so stoked about talking about new music I've found and went to concerts, the most recent one being Steve Earle (who I learned about from the No Depression
cover story a couple of months back) at the end of last month. (Allison Moorer opened for him, and the ad for her CD, Mockingbird
, is advertised on the inside back cover.) Right now the cover of No Depression
(January-February 2007) is pinned to the bulletin board of my cube here. Lucinda Williams is on the cover. I already knew about her before I found No Depression
, but again, have seen her twice in the past year with the accompanying couple of cups of expensive crap beer.
The fat suits don't get viral marketing, social networking, or guerrilla marketing. They don't get that people like me push their CDs harder than they do. They just keep counting their money, and more to the point, they keep counting the money they're losing, rather than how their making it and putting more toward that.
And sorry, dudes, just like the rest of America, you may just have to take a cut in pay. Horrors. That's really it. It's really fat cats (hogs, really) feeding at the trough and are more willing to cut off their own snouts than share the trough.
But I'm getting off the point of losing No Depression
. For me, who spends, hell, I don't know how much I spend on music and music-related stuff, but it's a lot, from CDs and magazines off the rack to guitar strings and shit like that, a magazine like No Depression
was invaluable to me. And guess what, you fat hogs--I'm invaluable to you, but you're not willing to admit that.
Labels: Action Bob Markle, actionbobmarkle, John Greiner-Ferris, music business, No Depression