Ireland’s other new national music magazine has announced it is to take a months break from active production, relaunching as a freesheet. Before I get to an analysis of the change, I’d like to point out a little something from States’s press release (reprinted in full below), which sticks in my craw.
The phrase is “It is set to become the first Quality National Music Monthly available completely free of charge!”. Lets parse that shall we, ‘first’ means original or only, ‘quality’ as in indicative of worth or high value, ‘national’ as in nationwide, ‘music’ as in covering or concerned with music and ‘monthly’, as in printed on a monthly basis. Four out of these five words combine into a factual claim, easily falsifiable. The fifth, the adjective ‘quality’ changes the meaning of the sentence from a statement of fact to one of opinion. Clearly State is not the ‘first national music monthly available completely free of charge’ (however dubiously you choose to capitalise it), that’s an empirically verifiable fact. Connected was (to the best of our knowledge) the first free magazine, focused on music, available throughout the Republic of Ireland. Analogue’s recent relaunch as a nationwide magazine makes it the second. The addition of the term ‘quality’ has a clear implication, and that is that neither Analogue nor Connected are quality pieces of work. The comment area below this article would be the ideal venue for an apology.
On to State’s future as a new national music freesheet. This isn’t as much of a change to the Irish market as it at first appears. The country plays host to a wide variety of regional and national advertising supported publications, many of which include music coverage. Whether magazine readership is a zero sum game, or whether by contrast the Irish audience has room to grow, is a question open to debate. The fact is that State, which already included advertising, is merely entering more fully into an increasingly competitive market for advertising supported music and culture publications – titles including ‘GCN’, ‘AU’, and ‘Totally Dublin’; rather than representing a novel direct threat to Analogue, Connected – or any other magazine.
Personally I hope State succeeds, both in finding an audience for it’s new format, and in continuing to pay its writers. As a paying market for writing about music it provides both an avenue for the development of new journalistic careers, and for readers an alternative to other music publications on the market, from ‘Hotpress‘ to ‘The Ticket‘. As a website, playing host to some of the most interesting music writers in the country (and now, likely, as Analogue has always done, reproducing for free the content of it’s printed cousin) State.ie provides another essential destination for Irish music fans; and enhanced community features can only add to that. The magazine is not to my personal taste, but that’s what great about magazines – no matter what your preference there’s likely one to suit, whether it be in the form of a printed publication, a web based outfit, or a PDF mag. As a comment on the state (no pun intended) of the for pay magazine, the change is telling. Combined with the closure of left wing political outlet ‘The Village’ (a move some of that magazine’s writers found out about only through a report in the Irish times), State’s going free questions the viability of paid niche magazines in the contemporary Irish market place. It’s one gradual step in a wider cultural change – people are less willing than ever to pay for things they can get (legally or otherwise) for free.
Ireland’s Quality National Monthly Is Free!
After a month of rumours and speculation State Magazine is ready to announce its plans for the future. It is set to become the first Quality National Music Monthly available completely free of charge!
After only 6 issues the monthly magazine has already established its credentials as a vibrant and incisive publication with attention to detail, a design that is second to none and impeccable production values. In addition its sister website (www.state.ie) has proved itself constantly on top of its game with breaking news, interviews and reviews that keep it bang up to the moment and ahead of the pack.
With their publication now a recognised brand the minds behind State Magazine are determined to move things forwards, onwards and upwards.
Their first step will be the launch of a newly strengthened and emboldened website hosted at their usual address.
Meanwhile the published magazine will take a one-month break to restructure its production and distribution returning with a November issue at the beginning of October which will be distributed nationally and available free of charge!
“We have produced 6 issues the old fashioned way,” explains publisher Roger Woolman, “and we feel it’s time to make a change and communicate more directly with our current readers as well as making our journalism and photography available to an even wider audience.
“We will still be producing a magazine of the highest quality filled with impeccable journalism, exclusive photography and top-end design but we don’t want to restrict ourselves and our readers by relying on traditional methods of distribution and sales, so we’re going to try something new: a top quality music magazine for free!”
The magazine will initially be instantly available in Ireland’s main towns and cities but will also be available by post for no more than the real price of postage and packing to anyone who subscribes. And in an unprecedented move this subscription service will be available right around the world!
“The fact that our magazine is Irish doesn’t mean that only people living in Ireland want to read it,” Woolman commented. “Our readership will be as big and broad as we allow it to be and we want it to be worldwide!”
Note: This article (like all Analogue articles) represents only the opinions of its writer.