July 14, 2011 by sw00ds
I don’t subscribe to MOJO or read it with any regularity whatsoever anymore — I did for a few years when I worked at the record store — in part because of the daunting price tag (I think it runs around $13 here) and in part because I’m just not that compelled by its contents very often (though whenever I do look at an issue, I’m usually pretty impressed and think I should spend more time with it), but in any case I confess to being very much in awe of its success. I have no idea about the actual success of MOJO, in terms of sales and advertising revenues, but the fact that it’s still going and still has a readership outside the UK… must mean something. I’ve never understood why an American company didn’t try to capitalize on that success — to produce, in effect, an American version. One that would:
1) appeal largely to an older (i.e., my age and up) demographic;
2) appeal primarily to a demographic that wants 3,000-word articles, sometimes about icons of rock, sometimes about lesser-knowns, like, I dunno, the bassist in Budgie or something;
3) excite the senses with great layout and design;
4) convince readers that they are holding something worth preserving (see #2 and #3 above);
5) convince readers that they are getting in many ways “definitive” accounts of whoever/whatever it is they’re reading about (and in many cases, they just might be).
Why am I thinking all this? Because of the stuff I’m coming across right now about a revived Creem. Purely from a business (never mind a critical) perspective, a revived Creem (at least as it’s being touted at the moment) seems like such a non-starter right out of the gate. The key concept would seem to be “irreverence.” To which I ask: for whom? Irreverence is cheap right now; indeed, it’s free, because it’s everywhere. I’m guessing that the only kind of music magazine that could actually sell right now would be the complete opposite of that, something highly reverent of its subject matter (which does not necessarily preclude a sense of fun or mischief, though it might preclude to some degree having writers with personalities on board), a publication with a “coffee table” sort of aesthetic, a ‘zine that actually comes close to approximating a book. Not saying I would necessarily buy such a thing. Just a hunch that it could be done and might be done with a modicum of success.