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Is Keyboard Mag in trouble?


NoahZark

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Today, I received the December '06 issue of Keyboard magazine, and one thing stood out over and above all the typically interesting and solidly written articles and reviews -- namely, the overall thinness of the issue itself. For subscribers, it's obvious that this is not a new phenomenom, but, since the problem seems to be worsening (e.g., no "Vintage Synths" column this month, fewer product reviews, etc.), I am increasingly worried that the magazine is in trouble.

 

From some recent postings by Ernie et al., I know that they were moving offices recently and generally adopting to life under new ownership, and perhaps this is simply a transitional phase (or a transitional month) rather than something more serious like a lack of sufficient ad revenue.

 

In the relatively short time that I've been a subscriber, I've become a huge fan of the mag and, even more so, of the incredible community (and people!) behind it. For lots of reasons, I'd really hate to see anything bad happen to it. :cry:

 

If anyone from the magazine is reading this and wants to assure me that all is well in Keyboard Mag-land, I would be much appreciative.

 

 

Best regards,

Noah

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No advertisements displaying acoustic pianos, an upcoming issue reviewing arranging keyboards ... Keyboard is right on track some might say. ;)

 

I really like the issues where there are several pages of new products - a photo and a blurb.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I've not noticed the mag getting any thinner as such - if anything it seems to have improved over the past year. There's no doubt Ernie must be one of the busiest editors alive given how hard he is to catch on the phone ;)

 

(Hi Ernie! :wave: )

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I renewed my subscription last month. I think the mag's greatly improved over the last year or so. The Alicia Keys and Peter Cincottis seem to have been replaced by Billy Prestons and Keith Jarretts, as it should be.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

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I love the mag and am excited when I see a new issue in my mailbox. The shrinking page count has me a little concerned. I'm pretty much a magazine junkie and KEYBOARD is pretty affordable compared to some other special interest publications. I'd pony up another buck or two if they could fatten that sucker. The price of EVERYTHING continues to rise.

 

That being said, I occasionally have to flip back a page or two to check and see if I'm looking at an ad or a review.

 

I'm not hatin', I'm participatin'.

chip
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Originally posted by niacin:

I renewed my subscription last month. I think the mag's greatly improved over the last year or so. The Alicia Keys and Peter Cincottis seem to have been replaced by Billy Prestons and Keith Jarretts, as it should be.

Yep that's been a highlight for me too, particularly the in-depth interview plus transcriptions etc. :thu:
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I've said it before, I think the editorial content of Keyboard has been killer lately. But you can imagine how I felt when I looked at an issue of Guitar Player last year for the first time in many years, and saw it was over twice as thick as Keyboard, much of it being ads. I think Bass Player is even smaller than Keyboard most of the time. I would guess that BP would be the first of the three to go (I've never looked at CMP's drumming mag) if any would.

 

I don't care how thick or thin it is, as long as they make money and stick around providing content like they have and have the pages to do it well.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Though the recent electronic piano article doesn't interest me, I've been extremely pleased with the overall direction KM has taken. Less "pop players of the moment", and more highly skilled artists. I hope they can continue to deliver this level of quality.
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Originally posted by cnegrad:

Though the recent electronic piano article doesn't interest me, I've been extremely pleased with the overall direction KM has taken. Less "pop players of the moment", and more highly skilled artists. I hope they can continue to deliver this level of quality.

More like "indie artist of the moment"...?
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Thanks for all the kind words, Forumites! You guys made my day!

 

We're running thin lately, it's true. In general, we're subject to the same vagaries of the market that all magazines are these days, which is to say, manufacturers are advertising less in print, and more on the web. In particular, we're running thin because of a -- how shall I say this and still keep my job -- colossal budget f-up that occurred during our recent sale. Our former owners (CMP) pulled some slick shenanigans with the numbers that left us with way fewer resources.

 

The good news: we're out from under that budget in a month or so. After that, I believe we'll be able to crank the editorial page count back up a bit.

 

Best,

 

Ernie

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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I just happily renewed my subscription for another three years and agree with previous comments that the magazine is on the right track and gives me what I need as a keyboard player. I especially like the transcriptions and interviews with professional players as well as the product reviews.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

Best,

JC

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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Originally posted by Ernie Rideout:

Our former owners (CMP) pulled some slick shenanigans with the numbers that left us with way fewer resources.

Thanks for the update, Ernie. I guess it's good that you're no longer under the former owners if they're the type to pull stunts like that. I'm looking forward to continuing to subscribe to Keyboard for another 20 years (god, has it been that long?) Keep up the excellent work!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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The shrinking size of the mag, coupled with the fact that I never got the renewal form in the mail, led me to let the subscription lapse. A month or two later, I received the form(from Ohio so it's legit), and the yearly price had dropped to roughly half of previous years. Strange. Resubscribed and have been getting issues with no problem. What exactly do others pay for a year?

 

Paul

WUDAYAKNOW.. For the first time in my life, I'm wrong again!!
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Bring back Rock Keyboards. I miss the Dave Stewart column with its cool chords and arranging tips. Maybe you can get someone like Jordan Rudess to write it? There are a bunch of columns like that in Guitar Player and Guitar World. Keyboard has been all about jazz and electronica for the last few years IMO.

 

Jeff Rona's film scoring column was also cool, maybe someone else can fill that spot?

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I love the mag in it's current form. Keep bringing in the real players, real instrument reviews etc.

 

My favorite article was a "Simple Gifts" reharmonization/re-arrangement exercise that you did with several keyboardists. I learned a lot from that one. The Dan Fisher synth-tips are amazing.

 

Jerry

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Let me add my voice to the choir: I appreciate the direction the magazine has taken in the last year or so, and the steps they did to be a magazine for players again.

 

I've said that in several occasions already, but since I had criticized the magazine a while ago (and unwillingly starting a large debate on its state), maybe it's worth repeating once more.

 

To me, the only thing that could stil be improved is in the instrument reviews; I'd like too see those detailed/reasoned/opinionated reviews back, with little regard for the manufacturers' point of view. Am I dreaming? :)

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keep it going Ernie. I warked in the press (specialized magazines and daily newspapers as well) for years, and i still work in a radio station besides my work as musician - the budget problem, the advertising and the "clients" were always a nightmare. But i'm sure a magazine with such loyal readers all over the globe is going to overpass any problem. Surely, it's a hard time for magazines and press, but in the end of the day none can take his computer with him in the toilet :) (i know it sounds silly to many, but it's one of the strongest paradigms for those who believe that the written press will survive the net/tv age)

yannis

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Originally posted by Blue JC:

I especially like the transcriptions and interviews with professional players as well as the product reviews.

+1

 

It has gotten a LOT better since the Goldfrapp days. I was about to let the subscription lapse and then the Fagen and Preston articles came out which offered hope for the future. :thu:

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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I must say that I much prefer seeing digital pianos on the cover rather than Goldfrap. I also love the Jimmy Smith "Jingle Bells" transcription. Keep it up!

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Ernie, thanks for chiming in to let us know what is happening with the Mag.

 

I am out of town in Texas, and have my copy of the Mag with me to read.

 

I've been getting this mag every year now for at least 8-10 years now if not more. I still have most if not all of the mags I believe.

 

Always great articles, reviews and a great price for the work that is put into it by all of the staff.

 

Great Job, I enjoy reading it.

 

Jazzman :cool:

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Mr. Rideout, thank you for the update! Glad the magazine will be filling out a bit soon. I've been really really enjoying the direction of the mag like many others here on this forum.

 

I'm also the VERY proud owner of a complete Keyboard Magazine collection. My first issue purchased was the Brian Auger issue in 1977 and soon after I got all the back issues and subscribed from that point on. So I've followed the mag through many an era/editor and am really enjoying it the most I have in years.

 

Cheers!

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

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Aethellis

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