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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I've got to sing just to exist

The headline says it all:

Punk Planet magazine -- R.I.P.P

by Sinker

Dear Friends,

As much as it breaks our hearts to write these words, the final issue of Punk Planet is in the post, possibly heading toward you right now. Over the last 80 issues and 13 years, we've covered every aspect of the financially independent, emotionally autonomous, free culture we refer to as "the underground." In that time we've sounded many alarms from our editorial offices: about threats of co-optation, big-media emulation, and unseen corporate sponsorship. We've also done everything in our power to create a support network for independent media, experiment with revenue streams, and correct the distribution issues that have increasingly plagued independent magazines. But now we've come to the impossible decision to stop printing, having sounded all the alarms and reenvisioned all the systems we can. Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers.

Read the rest of the statement here.

This news is not necessarily a shock, but it just sucks that this day has come. In the last year or so, the cash flow problems were well documented in the press (and even in the magazine). That said, I didn't think the ship would totally sink. The optimist in me says it won't. Here's why.

As stated in the statement, the magazine has stopped, but the website and Punk Planet Books remain. Just this alone means all is not lost. Acclaimed books by Joe Meno, as well as the fantastic collection of articles, We Owe You Nothing, are still out there. It proves there is still a relevant approach to punk other than what Maximumrocknroll does. Besides, on a personal note, I'm not forgetting what writing for them for the last two years has meant to me.

I had read about Punk Planet in Our Band Could Be Your Life, a book that has influenced me in so many different ways. Early into researching Post, I came across a copy of We Owe You Nothing in a Barnes & Noble. From there I became a regular reader of the magazine and lucked into doing record reviews for them. The gig offered no money, but free records and regular coverage. That was totally fine with me.

Sure, I reviewed some embarrassingly bad records and a whole lot of mediocre stuff. But like my time in college radio, I knew what it was like when I found in an incredible record in a lake filled with not-so-incredible records. Finding out about bands like The Pathways and Hanna Hirsch, along with reviewing Cursive and Explosions in the Sky records, made it all worthwhile.

It was in this time that I realized how to still be myself, not fall in line, all while growing up and maturing as well. I saw how smart, intelligent people took to punk more as an open-ended approach to life rather than a uniform you wore. That still resonates with me and I doubt it will cease because the magazine has closed up shop.

3 comments:

Random Kath said...

Did they have the same distributors as McSweeney's? They seem to be going through similar problems, although they haven't given up production quite yet.

Eric Grubbs said...

I think so, but I'm not sure.

Paul M. Davis said...

No, McSweeney's was distro'd by PGW, PP by the Independent Press Association. Times are really, really tough for independent publishers right now, magazine and books alike.