A day later. On Punk Planet.
I had time to think about it, and I didn’t get into reading the many eulogies or blog posts that I’m sure exist for this fallen magazine. It’s been 13 years for them, and actually the same for us as well, and I do know their magazine will be missed tremendously. It seems like they fit well into the world of indie publishing. They’ve probably won a few awards at the hands of UTNE reader. If you go into any indie record store, and many mainstream ones as well, you’ll see their magazine with that special look that they created. Punk Planet was more than just a music magazine, that seemed like the last bit important about them. They covered the rest of a punk rocker’s life, from politics to design to finances, and that’s something most music magazines won’t touch. Unfortunately, the last one, finances is what ultimately ended this publication.
The same distributor we used, Indypress, AKA Bigtop, went under leaving PP in a world of debt, and believe it or not, left us in a quandary as well. (This isn’t about us, and I seriously doubt people would give that much care if we ceased to exist as compared to PP) The debt of a distributor going down and not paying for perhaps 3 issues is huge, it’s over a year’s salary for most people, and where’s that money going to mysteriously appear? You’re pretty much fucked, and that’s what happened. It’s a shame that the demise of a magazine isn’t from shitty journalism, but it’s from the business of distribution – the part that’s largely out of a publisher’s control if you’re a newsstand magazine.
The next parts that I’m sure helped their end, is the huge amount of crap online. There’s so much, that people are reading less in print, and just taking quick looks at blogs, and “tidbits” of information here and there. Are print mags actually in trouble as a whole? Ads are going the way of the internet more recently since the technology of online advertising has improved as has internet video and tv type of content. Maybe that’s another culprit. It’s not lack of funds by the readers, that’s for sure, since everyone seems to have enough to buy a beer or a boba, which is just about the cost of a magazine.
So, I lied, this will be a little about GR, since I’m now thinking about our situation. Imagine, GR with no stores or restaurant – just a magazine. Are we in the greatest shape ever? Probably not. Is advertising in print down? Maybe some. Are subscriptions up or down. Maybe a bit down. So what’s going to happen here? What can we do to prevent ourselves from being the next Clamor mag or Punk Planet?
I’m not sure if I have any answers to this, except I feel good about making a magazine, and I do feel that our work is important to continue at all costs, even in the face of a climate that’s less nice to print publications. Our future is a long one. That’s the plan, and as I tell a lot of folks, the stores are like our branches, our customers the leaves, but the magazine, that’s the heart. Will our own readers rally for us if we need? Will we ever ask for anything? Who knows…
With all this, PP is a highly influential magazine that’ll go down in punk rock history as being an important publication. In a climate that once filled with punk zines, MRR, and Flipside, PP gave yet another strong voice to a musical movement turned lifestyle, that will always continue.