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April/May 2017

by Richard Thorne

Final Bi-Monthly Issue Of NZ Musician

by Richard Thorne

Final Bi-Monthly Issue Of NZ Musician

After close to 30 years of publication NZ Musician Magazine has today released its final bi-monthly issue.

Rather than continue publishing as a regular print title NZ Musician will henceforth be a digital entity, offering the same content via our fantastic online platform www.nzmusician.co.nz, but avoiding the increasingly challenging costs of printing and distributing thousands of copies free nationwide.

While we are saying (a very fond) goodbye to print, we are definitely not saying goodbye to all that regular NZM goodness. Far from it. NZMusician.co.nz will continue to present the wide variety of local music scene content (upcoming and established artist features, industry news, educational columns, reviews and lots more), with the steroid-enhanced edge of the online environment.

Writing about music and musical equipment for print consumption has always provided its own kind of special challenges. How do you efficiently convey the difference in sound between two album tracks, two snare drums or two acoustic guitar amp settings? Quite apart from the immediacy of social media, being able to link features directly and simultaneously to matched audio and video content is a publishing upgrade we will be celebrating and taking advantage of.

richard thorne 2017

This website has been designed to showcase a broad range of new digital content like video interviews, live performances, blogs and podcasts. We’re still busily re-loading the many thousands of articles that have been carried over from the previous site’s gigantic database, but there are plans in place for all of the above – ongoing advertising revenues permitting of course.

The enduring support of a fairly small number of regular advertisers allowed NZ Musician magazine to enjoy a life in print far longer than any will have believed possible, outlasting as it has all other local music titles that flourished around the 1990s. Many thanks and much respect to those supportive individuals, businesses and organisations that have remained steadfast in their advertising commitments, allowing NZM to get this far in print. Three decades as a free (and unfunded) magazine supporting local music is certainly something to be proud of. We hope, needless to say, that you will continue that backing online.

That so many smart individuals have essentially volunteered to contribute over the years, generously sharing their time and knowledge, speaks strongly for the value that others have placed on NZ Musician. Our current crop of wonderful regular columnists; Caitlin Smith, Kevin Downing, Dr Rob Burns, Thomas Goss, Dixon Nacey and Godfrey De Grut all give freely of their musical experience and expertise for the betterment of fellow musicians and NZM readers.

They’re wonderfully generous – and all plan to continue providing their columns in the digital future.

As the magazine’s editor since 1989 I feel incredibly fortunate that those who’ve been drawn to work for NZM have largely held a similar belief as to its role, its importance and how best it might deliver on that shared intent. Through a number of different editorial teams we have consistently sought to promote as broad a range of NZ music and musicians as practical, providing a (hopefully) entertaining, diverse, balanced, honest, well-researched and hype-free resource. That will not change going forward.

The first issue of NZ Musician was published back in the dark days of 1988. It was paste up boards, glue rollers and black & white images clear-cut with scalpels back then. While it has never been a publishing aspiration to position this magazine at the cutting edge of print design trends – it has always been free after all – I’d like to thank NZM’s numerous graphic designers. Most have been musicians, or at least had strong links to our music scene, and all have gone extra miles to make the magazine as good as possible despite the often poor quality components, late copy, blurred artist photos etc.

Silke Hartung first joined the magazine as its designer in 2010. In the seven years since she has incrementally become more closely involved in the shaping of content, organising of contributors, management of the online presence and development of the magazine’s social media platforms. I’m extremely grateful for her diverse expertise and enthusiastic belief in the value and values of NZM. Like several other wonderful assistant editors before her, Silke embraces the challenge of actively supporting the full breadth of our incredible popular music scene, and has taken a lead in prepping NZ Musician for the next decade.

Of course publishing online doesn’t mean there’s suddenly no costs associated with the service NZM provides – there are still the full range of office costs to cover and hardworking staff still need to get paid. We plan to be as creative as possible in securing the income necessary to maintain NZM’s high standards, but essentially any free media needs the basic revenue of advertising to survive. If you want to communicate with NZ Musician’s many thousands of readers and take advantage of the nzmusician.co.nz platform then we ask that you bear that in mind.

NZM recently signed on with local platform PressPatron which facilitates online readers making one-off donations and regular contributions to their favoured digital publications, making it easy to support the future of journalism. If you, dear reader, want to help NZM out at any stage in the future then you will find the ready means to do so via a ready link below. We’d certainly welcome and appreciate it.

The future is exciting, if a little mysterious. The decision to stop publishing NZ Musician bi-monthly after three decades has been a fairly monumental one, but we’ve been repeatedly encouraged to perhaps keep our hand in with less frequent ’special’ issues. Meantime though, we’d dearly love to have you bookmark and regularly visit www.nzmusician.co.nz where we will continue providing all the same great content and inmportant local music support, only more dynamically.

Richard Thorne
Editor/Publisher