So There We Were - Surrounded!
I've got a problem with this month's Intro. The last thing I want to do is bore IT's established readers into a stupor, but we've suddenly found ourselves joined by around 50% more musician readers - thanks to the thousands of you who either filled-in the subscription forms we had at the recent British Music Fair, or who've sent in completed forms from the free copies of our Issue 5, which were being distributed there. Understandably, a lot of questions were asked about who we are and how we finance IT - and these deserve an answer.
The problem stems from the fact that old IT hands will already know a lot about us - how we pay for Europe's only free musicians' mag., who the heck we are, why is the IT Cat running the Universe (or so he tells us!) and so on. At the risk of boring our existing friends to death, here's how IN TUNE works. My apologies to those of you who already know this, but we had so many new readers asking us questions at the B.M.F. that the following explanations about how IT gets into your hands for free every month really do need covering. Pulling no punches, here are the facts.
Unlike most magazines and papers, IT is owned and run by writers and players. Most magazines are owned and run by advertising men/business people, who hire writers as members of staff, but who have their major orientation towards selling as much advertising space as possible. We like to think we have different priorities and put the writing first.
Almost all magazines and papers have a cover price - you can pay up to £1.50 to buy them, as most of you will know - but, curiously, the money from this cover price isn't that important to the publishers, because a large percentage of it goes direct to the newsagents and wholesalers who handle and then sell the mags. IN TUNE works differently. The only way you can get the mag. is to register with us (which proves that you're a real musician and not just a record buyer attracted by the front cover pic. of this week's favourite superstar), which guarantees our advertisers a completely reliable and relevant circulation. We pay for the writing, printing, packaging and posting of IT solely through our advertising sales, but as every magazine is dependent for its livelihood on ad. sales, that makes us no more vulnerable to pressure from advertisers than anyone else. All mags, survive or fall on the amount of adverts they sell.
We also manage to live without the relatively small cover price revenue we'd get if IT was sold conventionally by keeping our overheads unbelievably low. We have a tiny staff (who work like Trojans), we don't employ advertising sales people and administrators with huge salaries and expense accounts, and we have invested in some very advanced computerised equipment which saves us a small fortune on typesetting, mailing list handling, our brochure request service and so on. The result is a slimmed-down operation, with unprecedentedly low overheads. Our economies enable us to make up for not having a cover price, and that saving enables to use our ad. revenue to do for free what you'd normally expect to have to pay for. That's how you get you IN TUNE free every month!
The final question we keep getting asked relates to our ability to review gear impartially when we're 100% dependent on adverts for our whole income. I've already explained how we're no more dependent on ad. revenue than any other mag. but, again because we're owned by writers, we say what we honestly believe to be the truth. None of our writers would dare risk their reputations by praising inadequate products - and even if we did, we'd soon lose our credibility with you, our readers, and that would sink us (due to a falling circulation) without trace. You can see for yourselves how often we give prominent coverage to products from makers who spend little or nothing on advertising with us. If their instruments and equipment seem interesting, we'll cover them - and advertising considerations have nothing to do with our choices. So, that's how IT gets to you free of charge. No cons, no catches and no dubious scams. Having hopefully dealt with the questions being asked by the legions of new readers who subscribed during the BMF Show, I can now climb down off my soap box and return to what passes around here for normality!
I now see that the IT Cat has his claws aimed menacingly towards my backside, threatening instant de-Levification if I drone on much longer and don't make with the Kitty Crunch; so I'd better slope off towards the fridge and try and assuage the brute's ravening hunger and dire threats of a well-lacerated rear end! No more pompous ramblings - until the next time, then. For those of you who have - thanks for reading this. I hope it answers your questions about the mag. Hopefully, I won't need to repeat it all until after next year's BMF Show - when our circulation approaches the two-and-a-half-million point! Now, for heaven's sake let's get on with the interesting bits, shall we?
Editorial by Gary Cooper
Next article in this issue:
mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!