My Response to “Where Have All the Music Magazines Gone?”
Aaron Gilbreath| Longreads | Dec. 2018
By M. Peggy Quattro
Reggae Report International Magazine began as a one-page newsletter in 1983. However, my interest in, and commitment to, spreading the music and message began years earlier. One day, I promised myself, I would do all that I could to get the word out to a world of fans I knew were there – fans ready for and waiting for Reggae.
Remember, Reggae, as most of the universe knows it today, was born in Jamaica in the late 60s-early 70s, proudly rising on the shoulders of Ska and Rocksteady. 1983 was considered to be in the early stages of this Reggae phenomenon. I knew branching out was going to be a long, hard road to hoe…but hey, let’s get started!
For 25 years, Reggae Report delivered on that long ago promise. The 80s was a genre-changing decade. A new form of Dancehall sprung up mid-decade featuring prancing hopefuls rapping – or deejaying – over the new synthesized sound of bass and drum (or whatever). And we covered it – the good, bad, and ugly. FYI: Dancehall is the godfather of Rap and Hip-Hop. Uh huh.
By 1993, I could see this train called the Internet coming – and it was headed straight for our gates. It barreled in, merciless and indifferent to the lives it was about to disrupt and change forever. Jobs would be lost, magazines (mine, for one) forced to fold, leaving an uncertain future, especially for publishers, but also trimming the sails of contributors, editors, writers, and photographers alike. We were all in the same boat.
Advertisers began to pull back over the next five years; also with their eye on this freewheeling, uncontrollable, faster-than-a-speeding-bullet Internet. Bam! The loss of ad revenue, compounded by rising printing costs (paper got more expensive, I was told) and rising shipping costs, both local and international, forced me to face the reality – who wants to wait 10 or 30 days to get a magazine when they can get news at the mere push of a button?
Distributors held off ordering new issues, and many just skipped paying for what they still had in their possession. But, what hurt me more than Corporate America boarding this speeding train was the loss of new subscribers. For me, subscribers were our life force. Many were with us from day one and they always kept me going. They showed support and encouragement right up to the bitter end. I will never forget them. I want them to know how much they meant to me…and to the staff and crew. We were like family. We are family.
By the end of 1998, I knew I had to jump on board this Internet train or die on its tracks. Our last issues that year were heartbreaking to produce. The usually exciting and joyful period of creating each issue was gone. The finality threw me for a loop. Who am I now? No longer publisher of the world’s most beloved multi-award winning magazine. No longer spreading the news, interviewing the stars, reviewing new music. No longer spreading the music and message. What’s next?
It was then the creation of ReggaeReport.com began – if you cyaan lick ‘em, join ‘em.
By 1999, we were online. The nerve wracking, nail-biting switch from printworld to cyberspace was worse than any printed issue dreadline. Yep, I pulled it off. Only thing (and a big thing), the business model did not transfer. Getting advertisers was even harder, there was no distribution revenue, no subscriber revenue, no merchandise sales… to put it bluntly, it sucked.
But Reggae Report is still online today (the 4th website); the Archive is getting uploaded for posterity.
Read the article that inspired me to share > https://longreads.com/2018/12/27/where-have-all-the-music-magazines-gone/?fbclid=IwAR2YvmdWmX6I5G0-JCgAM45Yos4sXsnqGl07l6jgGtPhlwwBEME2_QVE-Bo