More Independent Music Magazines Fold
More depressing news from the world of independent music magazines this past week: Seattle’s Resonance has officially closed up shop. Resonance was a regional, controlled circulation magazine for many years before it was finally picked up by one of the bigger distributors. And that’s probably why it never became hugely popular nationwide, at least when compared to its closest competition: URB, XLR8R, and so on. By the time its national distribution started, in other words, it had already enjoyed such a long life a Seattle-only publication. But for my money, it was one of the best designed books in its category, and one of the best curated, too. I worked as an editorial intern at the magazine about four or five years ago, and every issue I was a part of was put together with incredibly precise care, and with a passionately unique attention to detail.
Still, it was a truly independent operation: Andrew Monko was the magazine’s founding editor; he also handled the design and the ad sales, and he did the hiring and the firing. The content and photography came from an almost all-volunteer staff, and the magazine had no office: The entire beast was put together in Monko’s apartment. In his finished attic, actually. So the fact that the magazine lasted as long as it did is really quite an impressive feat, and many of the independently like-minded companies that did business with Resonance over the years were very well aware of that. In fact, Monko sent out an email this week to all the writers and artists who’d contributed to the magazine over the years, and in it, he included quotes from some of those very people. They were little notes of sympathy, really, but in today’s business landscape, how many other publishers can you actually image getting letters like these:
I’m really sorry to hear the print version isn’t viable anymore. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised, I have a pretty good perspective on the economic realities, but that was all the more reason why I was always impressed by Resonance’s longevity. The print world is losing yet another good voice, and that’s a bummer and a bigger deal than our ad balance. I’d be happy to plug the new site on our blog or whatever when the time comes. Stay in touch!
— Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics Books
I am so sorry to hear this news. I was actually just composing an email to the editors of No Depression as well, just heard they are closing their print doors too. Man, a bad day for print all around. I wish you the best of luck and def keep me informed as to how this all shakes out for you guys next year. Who knows where we’ll be by then? I may have been replaced by an mp3 player by fall of 09′ (insert worried face emoticon here).
— Taylor, Touch & Go Records
Two final notes:
- The entire final issue of Resonance (#55) is available as a free PDF on the magazine’s website. The proverbial plug was pulled, in fact, right before this one made its trip to the print shop. So if you’d like to see the team’s inadvertent swan song, this is the only way to do so. (Click “Downloads”.)
- A letter of explanation from Monko can be found here. (Click “From The Editor”.)
And yes, you read that last letter correctly: No Depression, which was originally a Seattle-based publication as well, has also called it a day. This one is even tougher for me to understand, because aside from being one of the finest music magazines on the market for a long, long time, No Depression didn’t have any competition whatsoever. It seems that they should have had such a potentially large advertising market all to themselves, but I guess the reality is that if you were to break down the ads in any given issue, some could just as comfortably fit in a country music magazine, and the others could go in the pop and rock magazines, or in the independent music zines. Nevertheless, it’s a damn shame; No Depression was enjoyed by many differing stripes of music lovers for many years.
- Here’s a decent report about the magazine’s folding. [NPR]
- And here’s something that includes a letter of explanation from the No Depression editorial heads. [Harp]
- I suppose by now, everyone who cares knows just about everything there is to know about the Punk Planet implosion. But if not, here is a massive list of eulogies. Everyone from the Village Voice to the San Francisco Bay Guardian to MTV loved their Punk Planet, apparently.