Black Collar Workers



metal edge magazineAn anonymous source has confirmed to MetalSucks that legendary magazines Metal Maniacs and Metal Edge — both published by Zenbu Media — have closed their doors for good. At this time we can’t report whether either magazine will print any final issues or whether Zenbu itself is in trouble, but we can confirm that the end is nigh for these once mighty metal publications.

Any time hard luck falls upon anyone in the metal community it’s a tough pill to swallow, but Metal Edge and Metal Maniacs are fucking institutions and this news will undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the metal world. Though these once mighty publications may not have carried the same weight in recent years that they once did, their demise delivers a shocking blow in one fell swoop to two industries already in peril, publishing and music. To say the absolute least, this is the end of an era.

Of the many implications running through my brain — not the least of which are the awesome people at both publications who are suddenly jobless — I keep coming back to two:

1) The publishing industry is fucked. Of all the people I know who have lost jobs in the current recession, at least half worked in publishing. It’s the elephant in the room, but there’s no denying it; print as a news medium (books are another story) is on the way down and it seems unlikely that it’s going to rise again. The once-monthly format seems quaint in comparison to the web, where information spreads to every corner of the earth in a matter of seconds and the expense of doing so is at a bare minimum. How can a once-monthly publication whose function is to deliver news possibly compete with that? There’s something to be said for holding an object in your hands, but with every 12 year-old just discovering Metallica who’s never lived in a world without cell phones, iPods and MySpace, the value of having and holding a physical object is fading away faster than Kirk Hammet’s hairline. Today’s teenagers simply don’t give a shit. Exhibit A: the demise of CDs. If there’s a market to support the continuation of print periodicals in some capacity in the future, it’s roughly analogous to vinyl; a nice bonus, but certainly not a huge moneymaker that can support an entire industry. Those publications that are smart ought to invest heavily into moving their content into the online space while determining how to phase out their costly print operations. And they ought to figure out how to make money doing so, which this writers knows is easier said than done. Take it from personal experience; record labels are just not as willing to shell out for banner ads as they are for magazine ads, whatever the reason may be. Which brings me to point #2…

2) The music industry is fucked. It’s no secret that magazines don’t make money from your $4.95 per month subscription; they make money on ads. But who buys ads? Record labels. And who’s laying off people left and right, themselves fighting against the seas of change because of the above 12 year-olds? Record labels. See the problem here? If record labels are no longer the crux of the record industry’s financial axis, where’s the money coming from? Is there even any money to be made in the music industry anymore? It’s what I’ve been saying for years: everyone in the music industry is going to have to accept that they’ll be making less money than their predecessors and perhaps less than they made before. The music industry is no longer a place to get rich; rather it’s just another profession in which to make a modest living while having much more fun than our suit-and-tie wearing friends. Those in it for the riches are already heading for the exits if they haven’t been shown the door yet. Which isn’t to say no one can get rich working in the music biz; it’s just becoming harder and harder.

So where does this leave us? Shit’s fucked. That all I’ve got at this early/late hour.


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