The NZ Musician magazine will cease printing after almost 30 years.
Its long-time editor, Richard Thorne, announced on Monday that his bi-monthly magazine had rolled off the presses for the final time. NZ Musician would publish exclusively online, he said.
The magazine had been available for free for 29 years.
“Writing about music and musical equipment for print consumption has always provided its own kind of special challenges,” Thorne said. Publishing online only would reduce costs, that had been “increasingly challenging”, he said.
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It had been a “hugely reluctant move”, he said, but one that “probably should have been made a few years ago”.
The magazine started in 1988. Thorne started as editor one year later and had remained in the position. These days, the magazine operated with a team of two paid staff and a pool of voluntary contributors.
Online, the publication would operate differently, he said. Content would be published more often, with a greater focus on storytelling through audio and visual features.
During the “middle decade” of his career as editor, Thorne said he experimented with charging for the magazine.
“It wasn’t awful, but by the same token it just didn’t fit well with me,” he said. The magazine had always been free and he didn’t want it to become a commercial venture, Thorne added.
Had the publisher continued to print bi-monthly, it would have probably gone bankrupt, Thorne said.
“The other option would have been to fold the entity entirely.”
Thorne admitted he had considered the second option. For a few years, Thorne said he would tell people the magazine might only have a few more editions left in it to see how they would react. Their reactions were encouraging, people still valued his publication, so Thorne said he planned to keep it alive.
From his time editing the magazine, Thorne was reluctant to attribute any artists’ success to their publicity through NZ Musician.
He was proud of their work covering Auckland singer-songwriter Darcy Clay, however. Clay died in 1998, his most popular piece, Jesus I Was Evil, was the only EP released while he was alive. His second EP, Songs For Beethoven was released posthumously.
Thorne put Clay, with his one EP, on the cover of NZ Musician. “We were pretty much the only magazine to give him any coverage,” he said.
“He wouldn’t have seen himself being reflected back anywhere else,” Thorne said.
NZ Musician would continue with its mission to cover the breadth of local music, Thorne said. Its readers though would be forced to change their habits after reading May’s edition.