Journalism, Music

Should I stop reading Exclaim!?

In the December 2012 issue of Exclaim! there is an interview with an extremely famous, near-ubiquitous pop-star. She’s not Madonna-famous, but she’s probably the next level down. On another page, a featurette compares the artist behind the “most popular song of 2012” with another, more-established artist (who, I must say, has been featured in the magazine many times).

I have been a regular reader of the print edition of this magazine for most of the last decade (and I was an occasional reader of it since not long after its inception). Sometime around a year ago – I believe – the magazine got a makeover, like so many magazines have had makeovers: there is now less text; there are still long features, but there are fewer and more of the featurettes are about graphics and bullet-point blurbs rather than paragraphs.

Exclaim! has always covered reasonably successful artists, but if feels as though they are moving further and further towards the territory of Spin and Rolling Stone. And this does not make me happy.

I feel like this magazine used to fill a niche. It’s not like they only ever covered underground music in the past but they covered music outside of the Top 40; this was necessary since we are inundated with Top 40 artists everywhere we go. Moreover, we need a place to go to find out about those who the recording industry don’t deem populist enough.

I know that the internet has changed our ability to find this information. I can’t imagine the pressures on the print magazine industry. But there is still a niche for people who want to read – in print – about new music that doesn’t make it on commercial radio. At least I think there is. I am part of that demographic.

But I am not going to patronize a magazine that prominently features Top 40 artists (or their Youtube equivalents) on a regular basis. I don’t care about the most popular music, and I am inundated with it all the time. (Even though we in my household do not listen to this music, we are still exposed to it in public all the time.)  I used to turn to Exclaim! to escape the world of bad radio. I do not know that I can still do that.

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