Archive for November, 2008

Debut Guest Editorial from UK Editor Sion Smith

Posted on November 4th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 130 Comments »

 The Amazing Digital Man

It sounds like a comic book, but it’s not. It’s me, it’s you. It’s all of us – but please, if a comic book should surface in the near future, remember you saw it here first.

Twenty years ago, my one room studio apartment was wall to wall with vinyl, cassette tapes, books and comics. In that relatively short time-space, my literary collection is pretty much intact and grows by the day. My music collection has not fared so well. It’s all still with me but it now lives in various and slightly more compact spaces, namely an ipod and an external hard drive that’s used as a jukebox in the house. I own no vinyl at all and have but five CDs to my name. Us Brits love a good list, so forgive me this little indulgence:

1. Kiss Alive Box Set (Just because, y’know)
2. Coheed & Cambria: Good Apollo… (the greatest album of the 21st century)
3. Shark Island: Gathering of the Faithful (Richard Black signed it for me and I haven’t the heart to sell it)
4. A Castle Blak/Monster Island 3 Disc Box Set (I wrote the liner notes but it’s a great box set anyway)
5. Journey: Frontiers (Not sure why I still have this…)

Ironically, these are all digitized as well. I know you Yanks don’t do irony so well, but trust me, it’s irony. As a magazine editor, my other obvious love is magazines. I have many of those, although none that date much past 1979 (apart from my own) in the shape of back issues of Creem.

Here’s some more irony: I’m currently editor of Burn Magazine (which is my own) and also editor of Planet Rock magazine, which is a newly launched publication for the Sony award winning digital radio station Planet Rock (I have to say ‘Sony award winning’ wherever possible. Apologies). Do I love the smell of them? Are my hands covered in paper-cuts from fawning over them? No. Both of these publications are digital and I will never hold one in my hands again. We (we being the team at Dark Hollow) looked long and hard at the business model for this before we committed to “no print”. You may not be in the publishing business but if you have a head on your shoulders that’s good at analogy, read on. There’s wisdom here somewhere.

The first mountain we had to climb was that a digital magazine is not perceived to be as genuine as a paper magazine. So why is my workload not smaller than before? To pour water on this fiery myth, we launched both magazines back to back at 6pm on Friday evening. At 6.10pm, we had our first subscriber. Under print rules, that magazine would still be on a truck or languishing in a warehouse awaiting distribution. As I write this not two days later, we have a very healthy subscription rate – fuelled, I have no doubt, by the fact that it’s a good price and a click here and there results in the job being done.

The other plus is that we can run right up to a few hours before we digitize before we call time on submissions. So, should Chinese Democracy happen to be available on the morning we ‘go to print’, the review can be included. Advertisers also get the benefit of what we like to call the ‘hole in space and time’. For instance, let’s say your band puts an advert in for your new album. Click on the advert and you’re whipped into an affiliate page such as amazon where you buy it there and then. For those smart enough to figure out how this would translate into digital sales at an online store such as itunes, this is us – you and I, doing the business with no middlemen taking so many percentages that we’re both left with not much more then the small change for a burger. Did you know that in the UK, a store will take up to 60% of your cover price when they sell your magazine? That goes for CD’s too and I doubt it’s much different wherever you are in the world.

You can all see where this is going and what the long-term implications are. Which begs the question, if you’re in a band, are you still hunting down a deal? Are you still producing CD’s to promote yourself? I’ve been there and done that and the answer you’re looking for my dear friends is not this. Take the money you were about to spend on physical product and invest it wisely in a publicity or marketing company who understand the digital world. Let the record companies hunt you down because you are now a worthwhile commodity – that’s the way successful music business will be conducted in the future.

The digital revolution is well and truly underway. It isn’t without it’s own can of worms, but neither was the old way. Personally speaking, at least I’m in control. I can screw up on my own terms these days – and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to make enough money to buy myself a Sony Reader. Then I can truly live out of my pockets.

Sion Smith


Sion Smith is the founder and editor of BURN magazine in the UK. He is also the writer/creator of the comic book series Too Hot For Dogs and other incredibly inane fiction. He can be contacted through the Burn website at or, if you’re in the mood to follow the random daily ramblings of a man with too much time on his hands, check in with his personal blog at


Statement from Mickey Lee

Posted on November 3rd, 2008 in Uncategorized | 147 Comments »


November 2, 2008 



“It has been brought to my attention that Linda Cummings, using the name “Ramone,” has recently been in the media joining with the Palin family and the McCains to attempt to aid their campaign for the Presidency.  As a President of Ramones Productions, and brother of Joey Ramone, I just want it to be clear that Linda Cummings does not represent the political views of the Ramones.  Surely, as for Joey Ramone, the only Ramones song he would sing at a Republican campaign event would be ‘Glad To See You Go!’

“I should add that when Johnny stated ‘God Bless George Bush’ at the 2002 Rock&Roll Hall of Fame awards, I realize now that he was on to something.  Because if it were not for George Bush and his handling of our country the past 8 years, I doubt so many Americans, including so many highly regarded Republicans, would now be getting behind Barack Obama.  So, yes, thank God for George Bush for paving the way to Obama.”

~ ~ Mickey Leigh

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