Column from July 31st, 2000 issue

Every other week at the moment, someone in Europe seems to decide it’s time to set up a “new”, dedicated melodic rock magazine. Ignore the fact that we’re in the 21st century: all the new magazines are paper based and display barely a schoolboy level of writing proficiency!

I don’t get why people persist with such plans. But then again most of the people behind the magazines are not in it because they want to write about music. Rather they have some other interest (like being involved with a label or a mail order outlet) and the pretext of a “magazine” is just a paltry excuse to make an extended marketing tool available filled with articles that would be just at home in an advertorial. Most of them carry such similar articles (just how many interviews with Danger Danger could one person want to read?) that it smacks of cronyism.

In that light, consider that it’s virtually impossible for any printed melodic rock magazine to come anyway close to making any money. They simply cannot reach a big enough audience. They have no money to throw at true promotion (like proper magazines do) and don’t understand anything about how the publishing industry works at all.

With so many similar labels, promoting so many similar releases, editorial independence is going to be a major issue at some point, as the listener is going to get fed up wasting hard-earned cash on substandard releases that are nowhere near what they purport to be. The attitude that’s currently being displayed makes me worry that very few people are in it for the long-term, and they’d put sales ahead of reputation any day.

The question really is what can be done with a publication that really moves rock music forward? Right now everyone just covers the same ground in the same way. It’s only a matter of time until all the current printed publications disappear and are replaced by new titles making exactly the same mistakes. It’s a lovely viscous cycle that does no one any good and keeps melodic rock looking like people out of step with musical reality surrounded by industry amateurs.