A few weeks before Christmas 2016, the entire rock and metal community found out that Team Rock had gone into administration (Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Etc), or gone bust if you prefer. Staff being made redundant and sent home with no pay, doors closed and locks changed, and the future of 73 (ish) people looked so bleak, never mind the thousands of story hungry rock and metal fans. The consumer was left in total shock, as were the bands that each individual brand had supported over the course of the years, and the previous owners who sold off in 2013 for £10.3m, Future Publishing, were licking their wallets lips, looking at the business deal of the millennium.
That fact aside, Ben Ward from Orange Goblin and friends set up a Just Giving page to donate to the employees who had not a pot to piss in three weeks before the festive season, as a way for fans and bands alike to show their appreciation for the jobless journalists, designers, editors, admins, cleaners, and so on. They set a target of £20k and totally smashed it. I mean seriously smashed it. At the time of me typing this up the page was at £88,700 and at 443% of its initial target. Divided between all the staff, that’s really not bad going, and really fucking generous of people. Especially at that time of the year that’s eating the shit out of everyone’s bank accounts and savings, just to put a smile on the face of a relative you don’t particularly like once a year.
Time goes by, the public have gotten over the shock of everything except for the odd person screaming from a social media mountain about the ‘injustice’ and those ‘poor people’. And the staff, well, to be fair I don’t think they’d have been getting over their dream jobs anytime soon, I mean all things considered, to each of those people going to gigs, festivals, reviewing albums, and interviewing iconic bands and performers was their dream job and they got paid to do that shit – what’s not to like? Unless of course, you’re into Boney M and Doctor Hook. Getting back to the point, along comes the new year, with folks trying desperately to get their lives back on track, struggling with the daily adulting rituals, like either looking for or going to work, school runs or being hungover from a spontaneous session the night before where you’ve had less than an hours sleep and are still as high as a fucking kite, to getting that somewhat mundane bollocks that is your routine back into shape. And up pops something quite interesting.
Future Publishing have bought back their beloved, yet previously owned, magazines and various other press outlets for a mere £800,000. I mean, I know folks who have houses that are worth more than that, but still, business is business, and Future really just played the best business move I think I have ever seen. On that happy note, Future have asked the former editors to go in, sort this months editions out and get them ready to publish, then are looking to hire staff. I’d put money on the fact that the majority of staff who were employed there before, no doubt, will be employed there again in the near future, and the rock and metal community will have regained some of their most cherished publications back on the shelves for all to buy or browse in the store while you’re waiting for the other half to finish browsing, having a shit, or whatever.
Whilst the rock and metal community are busy patting themselves of the back for a job well done, and rightly so, they seem to forget that these journalists are but a mere drop in the rags ocean. It is, unfortunately, but a small victory, and the reason?
Most publications, be it a tabloid, a website, or a magazine, rely heavily on the folks that do that shit for free, for ‘exposure’ (where have I heard that before?), for the ‘love of it’, or, god forbid, work experience with the vague hope that it would one day lead to a paid position and that ‘dream job’ that just never materialises.
Photo source: TeamRock.com