This month, we celebrate our own fearless leader, RePlay Publisher Ed Adlum, who has been covering the music and games industry for half a century. I encourage you to read his elegant memoir inside this issue. The story provides wonderful insights about the industry’s colorful history as well as Ed’s own rich personal story…not to mention a powerful sense of what it means to build a successful business from the ground up, something that many of our readers will understand well. The work he has pursued in celebrating the industry, holding up a positive image of the business and, at times, trying to reform the industry's practices, richly deserves this special recognition. It also provides a good opportunity to talk about the value of trade publications more generally.
Eddie joined the ranks of trade magazine publishing at a time when print was still king, at least for niche business magazines like ours. The broadcast media of the 1960s may have been playing an increasing role in the collective consciousness of the general public, but magazines, newspapers and printed newsletters were still the only way to reach more narrowly defined audiences. In the last decade, the world of niche print publications has faced an existential challenge posed first by the Internet followed by the rapid explosion of smart phones and the distribution of content over those devices.
It’s become very fashionable to believe that print publications are a dying form of communication. But like many widely accepted truisms, that argument does not hold up under scrutiny. From a purely logistical standpoint, the print-is-dead mantra may seem reasonable. Sure, it’s cheaper to send emails than it is to buy advertising or work with a magazine on a feature story about a new product. But the overwhelming volume of such email or direct snail mail ultimately devalues the importance of each individual message. The same can be said for websites and social media. All of these tools have become necessary in modern commerce, but they are not sufficient. Without the context of an industry community, they just get lost in the roar of information overload.
Institutions like trade associations and trade publications play a vital role in forging that context and creating that crucial community. A trade without such institutions quickly ceases to be a cohesive community, devolving into a patchwork of isolated commercial “actors” trying to survive in this very competitive and fragmented world. Trade association leaders are quick to point out that these groups provide “a voice” for their members in the halls of power and in relating to other industries. Likewise, magazines like RePlay serve a vital function in bringing together disparate aspects of the industry into a unified whole. And we do it every month, like clockwork, delivered straight to your mailbox.
Like everybody else, RePlay has embraced the Internet with important features like our thrice-weekly email newsletter. But we have not done so at the expense of the magazine. In fact, our online presence is an extension of the unique brand we have forged in print for four decades now. Our readers continue to support (even demand) the print magazine Eddie started. That support animates and validates what we see as our role and responsibility in helping the industry move forward. And for that validation, we remain grateful and gratified.
Direct email to RePlay Magazine Editor Steve White.
To send email to RePlay Magazine, it's firstname.lastname@example.org
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