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Friday, January 9, 2009

Arthur Magazine On Another Hiatus

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 9:31 AM

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Arthur Magazine has been through this before: the announcements that ad sales are terrible, that there aren't enough resources to keep the little magazine that could going. But this time, the bad news unfortunately comes at a time when print media as a whole is hitting a rough patch.

Today Arthur publisher/editor/founder Jay Babcock released a statement that his magazine is going on "hibernation." "I am done with self-publishing Arthur," he writes, "which I've been doing since

July, 2007. It's too much work for one person to edit, publish and

manage a national magazine, month after month, year after year. If/when a publishing partner appears, and so on, Arthur will return to print. That could be in three days, three months or three years." Of course, while Babcock states being stretched thin as his explanation, one imagines the subtext there is that Arthur's financial status is a big reason for holding off on creating new issues. [**Update: Babcock just emailed me: "There is no subtext about money. It's not the ad sales, which were actually going back up. I need a partner, just like I wrote."]

Ok, so even if Babcock says it's about staffing, not money, we're still living in a time when the big publications are all hurting, with layoffs and downsizing hitting everyone from the New York Times to Rolling Stone and Spin. So how does a niche publication like Arthur--one admirably dedicated to the best in new folk, psychedelic rock, spaced out metal, fucked up noise, and a ton of other great fringe genres--make it? The magazine has served--and hopefully will continue to serve, one day--a great purpose. But unfortunately it's operating in a time when print media and the music industry operate on some really shaky ground. Perhaps adding a new publisher to the fold will help the magazine shore up its reserves... 

R.I.P. Arthur for now ... but then, who knows. The mag's made impressive comebacks in the past, so perhaps we'll hear from Babcock again some time soon with another of those nine lives put to good use.

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Ian S. Port

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