top of page
Physical music/art magazine fundraising compilation!

MEANS Mag is a new community-led physical magazine, showcasing independent, forward-thinking and experimental music across all genres. Building upon the myriad of small and micro labels that have long inhabited the Bandcamp platform, the magazine seeks to support this diverse scene in the wake of Bandcamps recent sale, by offering an alternative location for artists and labels to promote their releases. The goal is that the magazine will incorporate reviews, articles, editorials, artworks and features focussed on innovative and exciting scenes across the globe, working on the basis that many music fans are more interested in the new than the established, the unusual rather than the well-trodden. Artists and labels will be free to steer the direction of the magazine via an open, accessible online forum, a truly artist-led model that could never be sold to the highest bidder, and which strives to derail traditional hierarchies. A magazine where a double-page spread might be populated not by the most famous artist, but by the most interesting project.

As a community-led endeavour, MEANS has no initial funding. In order to raise money for our first, pilot issue, we are inviting artists to submit music to a fundraising comp, to be released digitally in Dec 2023.

Call out:

Submit your music to our fundraising compilation and help support the development of a new artist-led magazine. All submissions are welcome, and we offer the following guidelines:

Submit one track per artist. If your the kind of person whose got 634 different musical guises, maybe still consider just submitting one track. Leave some space for others, yeah?

Tracks should be ideally less than 7 minutes long. It’s not a hard rule, but your hour long epic musing on the nature of human civilisation is unlikely to make the cut.

All genres welcome, but we gravitate towards things that experiment - whatever that means for you. Experimental isn’t a genre, but a process. We’d much rather see someone experimenting with the confines of ska-punk / polka / bluegrass / trap / spectralism / whatever, than someone making ‘experimental’ music that sounds exactly like Stockhausen. We like Stockhausen. But he did that already.

Tracks should be submitted by 18th December. The comp will come out before Xmas. A nice stocking filler for your digital sock.

Tracks will be selected by a team of curators from the MEANS discord forum. They won’t be judging you, or deciding what’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They’ll be simply deciding which tracks seem to work best together to make a cool overall experience. Not being chosen is categorically not a reflection on your talent. 

Got it? You’ve got it. We believe in you.

Now get submitting!

submit WAV files only, to:

meansmag@hotmail.com

with the subject ‘fundraising comp submission’.

Social media is more fragile than ever. Bandcamp is being bought and sold again every 15 minutes. The online communities that musicians and artists have long fought to maintain, are struggling. 

I am proposing creating a new, community-led physical magazine. Its goal will be to provide a space for labels and artists to promote their work. Rather than fostering competition - a thousand artists all scrambling for one of a handful of slots on bandcamp daily or in the Wire - it will promote all contributing artists equally. 

How will it work?

The idea is simple. Labels/artists pay a small fee for a page in the magazine. They can put whatever they want on that page - links to purchasing a latest release, a bio of the label, special offers, album art... whatever. In between these pages, the magazine will also include some reviews of new releases, interviews, art works, writing, etc. Like a proper magazine.

Why charge a fee?

I propose that the magazine will work on a very simply principal - no one works for free.

In practice, this means: If you are using the magazine to sell something (like a new release on a label), you will pay a small fee to cover the overall costs.

If you are contributing something to the magazine that is not for sale - such as if you are writing some reviews - you will get paid a small fee.

The people who print, pack, edit and otherwise produce the magazine will also get paid a small fee.

How much will it cost?

I propose charging £7 for a whole A5 page, to do with as you please. This would be great for labels.  I propose charging £4 for half an A5 page, to do with as you please. This would be great for artists.  I propose that visual artists can have pages for free, and include links to places people can buy their work in lieu of payment. 

I propose that non-profits - releases for charity, community projects, promoters putting on shows that won't break even, etc. - can have a page for free to promote their work. 

People can then buy the resulting magazine for £5.

What will contributors get out of it? By paying your fee, you will get the following benefits:  

  • A page / half-page in the magazine.

  • The chance to get reviewed in the magazine (reviews can't be 'bought', but by contributing to the mag your work will go into the pool of releases that reviewers will be choosing from).

  • A chance to contribute to a DL or physical album that will come with each issue, further promoting your work.   

Ok. But how will is work in practice? My hope is that a minimum of 30 labels will sign up for contributing the the magazine. Whilst there are no genre constraints, my existing contacts are largely in the experimental scene, so I would imagine it would benefit those whose output is broadly experimental in some way most. 

My hope is that we can aim to sell a minimum of 100 copies. Possibly a lot more.

My hope is also that the magazine will be printed and posted from multiple territories. I am in the UK, so could arrange it to be printed here, and post to the UK. I am hoping someone reading this would take on that role of the EU, USA, and anywhere else we think it might sell. The idea is you would be paid a small fee for taking this role on. Because no one works for free! It might be possible that different territories could have slightly different versions - perhaps a few pages could be dedicated to adverts for local shows happening in each territory the magazine is sold in?

Obviously this is a lot to organise. I anticipate there will be several months before the first issue comes out. It's also only worth doing if it is of genuine use to the music community it serves. With that in mind, I think at least 30 labels need to sign up in principle so as to make it worth printing the first issue. Whilst these things are always a risk, it is pretty low risk if viewed as a community effort. Labels risk losing £7 - but if it works out we not only have more sales of your wonderful albums, but an awesome new print magazine. 

Anything else?

I am not a professional. You might even call me unprofessional. But I do work hard to try and promote/support the music/art scene I love. And that's what this is all about. No one will be getting rich, but hopefully everyone will sell a few more releases/artworks/tickets, or at least get paid for their time and effort.  Ok. What now?

At this stage, I need two things.

1.) If you think this all sounds like a good idea, and feel you can help make it happen (perhaps you've run a magazine before, or run a print shop, or want to offer to print/distribute the mag in your area, or have some useful connections...) then get in touch. It would be great to have you on board. 2.) An expression of interest from labels/artists. It would be great if you can let me know that you would be up for paying £7/£4 for a page/half-page. This is not a set in stone commitment, but a way of you saying 'yes, if it all looks like it is coming together, I reckon I'd want to pay for a page'. The mag will only move forward if there is interest - so please do let me know if you are interested!

Please contact me on the email address below. I am also really happy to hear any suggestions or ideas about how to make this all better - I would love it to be a community effort. 

Thanks for reading all this, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Best

Daniel

Email: daniel@difficultartandmusic.com

bottom of page