Is the market for music magazines dead? When was the last time you bought one?

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
90
Toronto, Canada
I'm kind of thinking that it is dead at this point. A sign of the times, I suppose, with fierce competition from music tab web sites and tutorials from YouTube. Even Mad magazine, formerly a fairly successful publication, is no longer found in the magazine department of book stores. I think that the last ones I bought were from Guitar World or a similar publication that came with an accompanying DVD. How to play rhythm guitar, lead guitar, accoustic guitar, Christmas songs and the like. It came with a booklet (not a regular magazine) with tablature for the lessons covered. This must have been about ten years ago.

Regards,
Mark225
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
90
Toronto, Canada
I don't doubt the truth of what you're saying but going back 27 years might be a bit of a reach. I was unemployed in 1995 and went to a computer course for the unemployed at a university. One of my instructors mentioned the internet and said that it was very disorganized. It's come a ways since then but it certainly wasn't on every phone in the hands of everybody at the time. I think that the real damage done to publications (and a lot of other things) probably occured...well, since maybe 2001. That was the year that a well loved music chain in Canada called Sam The Record Man first filed for bankruptcy. As the owner said, "Kids are downloading music for free these days and you can't compete with that." His sons revived the chain but were forced into bankruptcy again in 2007. Others followed suit. And the internet hasn't done the magazine world any favors, either. I still see a few guitar magazines here and there but their sales must be lagging big time.

Cheers!
Mark225
 
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Ricochet

Squier-Meister
Jul 8, 2012
251
Cleveland
Wow. I haven't logged in for ny-yun to five years it seems. I still get "Premier Guitar" but for the past two years I had to resubscribe simply by sending the fee to the address in the statement printed in every periodical every year saying how many they printed. It was pretty thin in the last year because they do a great magazine in digital format and they likely make the costs up from advertisers. Frankly, I love a hard copy despite places to shelve 10 years of the mag, I'm glad they still print it. Years ago there were four or five competing guitar mags but I subscribed to the one I thought had the best articles/help/interviews. Long live print.
 

Shaytan

Squier-holic
Apr 10, 2018
1,565
Lisbon, Portugal
I suppose the fact I really don't hold much nostalgy at all for those also means I really wouldn't bother buying one. I recall perhaps one of my only interactions with a guitar mag was one of a teacher of mine's, back in high school, that included some small lessons and tabs to play in style of a few artists - I may look around for my photocopies of that to see what mag it was.

The problem is that, despite the contents, they seem quite pricey, after all I'm sure they don't take nearly as many prints as a more mainstream subject, moreover these days when most of the community moved to digital form. The main publishers in the guitar media world have also started posting most if not all articles freely online, so there's that, too.

One thing I gotta say, though, is that every now and then I read online articles brought from the archives - usually when a band announces a new album, to honour a recently deceased artist and any other similar reason - and I've noticed they're consistently better and more thoughtfully written than their contemporary counterparts.

The fact English isn't my mother tongue makes written texts the most important to expand my vocabulary and it's very noticeable that (most) modern journalists in the guitar world write in a very informal manner, as compared to the intelligent phrasing and choice of words I've found whenever I've read articles from 20+ years ago. On top of that, many of the stuff I read these days (and stop halfway through) regards to honestly trivial subjects: discussions this and that artist had over on social media, opinions of opinions about this and that genre being dead, why X artists thinks all new bands but his suck, etc. Perhaps the turn into fast, free consumable media also took its toll in terms of quality...
 

Robb

Squier-holic
Jan 13, 2011
4,857
Chertsey
It's been years since I bought one but I still go through the bunch I bought years ago, remember the thin vinyl records that came with 'em ? Well I must still have around 50 !
 

BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,863
France
I read Guitar Part on a regular basis. Granted, it's a bit pricey (they have to keep up with inflation), but its content is a high-quality one. Furthermore, I enjoy the way their staff writes. Fun titles, good vocabulary, some play on words... I'm including a link to their website (it's in French) :
https://www.guitarpart.fr/

It's possible to read it in printed form or as a PDF format.
 
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duceditor

Squier-Axpert
May 29, 2014
15,257
The Monadnocks, NH USA
One thing I gotta say, though, is that every now and then I read online articles brought from the archives - usually when a band announces a new album, to honour a recently deceased artist and any other similar reason - and I've noticed they're consistently better and more thoughtfully written than their contemporary counterparts.

That is a near universal truth in what used to be called "journalism." Today -- and this is noticeably so even for the remaining Big Name, still in print, publications -- the writing and reporting is at a level that'd not even had been considered print-worthy not too many years ago.

One sees the same pattern on TV news. Where are the Edward R. Murrows, the Walter Cronkites and the David Brinkleys? Dead and gone to News Heaven.

Even totally mundane things like weather reporting have become largely sensationalist trash.

Sad. But so. (And we all suffer for it - even if we do not know that we are doing so.)

-don
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
90
Toronto, Canada
It's been years since I bought one but I still go through the bunch I bought years ago, remember the thin vinyl records that came with 'em ? Well I must still have around 50 !
I remember those. They also came in some books as well. Didn't cerial boxes have them as well? I don't think they were music related, though.

Thanks,
Mark225
 

65refinyellow

Squier-holic
Jun 29, 2015
1,557
norcal
I love retro including guitar magazines.

One drummer friend of mine only started using a mouse in 2005 and still uses Windows 2000. He has an extensive guitar magazine collection which abruptly stopped when nirvana got discovered. But he’s a real old rock history buff on everything guitar.

My other retro friend, also a drummer, tried so hard to get out of his retro ways that he paid $7,000+ plus for a Roland electronic kit but still only plays one factory preset on it. Retro is in his blood and these days the top of the line electronic kit is sitting in his friend’s apartment unused.
 

surf green

Squier-holic
Jul 15, 2014
3,984
RI
I still subscribe to Vintage Guitar Mag. I don't see how they can make $ selling them. A 12 mo subscription (12 issues) is $24. If you delay renewing, they send a coupon deal for $19.
Great bathroom reading.
 

BluesForDan

Squier-Nut
Nov 27, 2015
987
grrrrrr-ranite state!!
I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions back in 2003 when I got laid off from what would turn out to be my last real job. I threw out everything except my Guitar Player mags, I have from 1974 up to ... um, 2001 I think. Towards the end, I'd make myself read it cover to cover but probably just once. The earlier stuff I pored over many times each. Some time ago, while trying to help out a forum member with a particular article, I went through a few years' worth of them. The progression of the ads is something to behold, both in the sophistication and volume. I still have them and I have the bookcase waiting for them if and hopefully when I get my music room up and running. I had planned on it being done by Labor day and here it is, August 5th and I am barely any closer than I was after the demolition back in October '21.

But as far as the original question by the OP, I can't see how any guitar magazine is staying afloat today. Dead or dying, I can't see a long-term survival for them.
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
Silver Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2017
2,306
Western NY, USA
I remember those. They also came in some books as well. Didn't cerial boxes have them as well? I don't think they were music related, though.

Thanks,
Mark225

I still have a little cardboard one, somewhere, that came in a bag of Lay's potato chips. It was by The Shadows of Knight (Big hit: a cover of Gloria) who made some money by recording a song about potato chips. It was called:

Potato Chip

(Verse)
I gotta girl
She makes me flip
All she wants is
Potato chips

(Chorus)
Potato chips
Potato chips, now
All right
She always flips
When she gets her grips
On a cruncy, munchy
Potato chip
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
90
Toronto, Canada
I still have a little cardboard one, somewhere, that came in a bag of Lay's potato chips. It was by The Shadows of Knight (Big hit: a cover of Gloria) who made some money by recording a song about potato chips. It was called:

Potato Chip

(Verse)
I gotta girl
She makes me flip
All she wants is
Potato chips

(Chorus)
Potato chips
Potato chips, now
All right
She always flips
When she gets her grips
On a cruncy, munchy
Potato chip
I've never heard of them coming in bags of Lay's potato chips but that sounds really funny. I like it. I just listened to it on Youtube. It's called Potato Chip. If you scroll through the comment section one of the band members even comments on it. Too funny.

Cheers,
Mark225
 
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Eddie

My Squier is on Fire !!!
Nov 5, 2016
19,509
New York
I was in Barnes and Nobles the other day to soak up some free AC. Sat in the magazine section. Browed a bit but didn't buy anything. I haven't purchased a music/guitar magazine in 30 years.
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
90
Toronto, Canada
I was in Barnes and Nobles the other day to soak up some free AC. Sat in the magazine section. Browed a bit but didn't buy anything. I haven't purchased a music/guitar magazine in 30 years.
Your comment and a few others seem to back up my original theory: Most of us don't buy music magazines anymore. That's on a regular basis, though. I have a Christmas song issue from back in the nineties and if another one were published this year then, yeah, I'd probably buy it. I like Christmas carols. But that's once in maybe every two or three years. I'm not a regular customer. Mine are not sales receipts that they'll go running to the bank with while in a state of delerium from apparently having just struck it rich. Still, I can only guess as to whether they'll go extinct entirely at some point. A few might survive even if they no longer make it to newsstands. Is it really so hard to imagine guitar magazines surviving on an internet subscription basis alone? They'll save money by cutting costs on all that goes into putting the final product on the store shelf. And maybe with a staff that largely works from home. If enough corners can be cut you just never know.

All best,
Mark225
 

Eddd

Squier-holic
Nov 20, 2019
2,006
Canada
I was in Barnes and Nobles the other day to soak up some free AC. Sat in the magazine section. Browed a bit but didn't buy anything. I haven't purchased a music/guitar magazine in 30 years.
I stpopped buying any magazines a few years ago.They end up as clutter that is never read again.And they certainly aren’t cheap either.
 


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