Both Harp magazine and indie rock mag Resonance which catered to the indie demographic have gone belly up. Those two outlets really spoke to our consumer,” says John Biondolillo, general manager at Dave Matthews’ ATO Records. This could have long term consequences for or indie labels promoting triple A and alt-country acts.
Many labels are taking their ad dollars to the web rather than magazines, mainly because the net is cheaper. ‘Indie sites charge between $1,200 and $3,300, while print publications like Harp and No Depression charged between $1,825 and $2,295 for a full-page color ad’.
Advertising only on the net isn’t the answer either and has its limitations. “It’s hard to see publications for the non-teen and twentysomething demographic go because they are the group that still buys physical CDs and keeps the record stores open,” Wittman says. “They are not the people that are reading (music Web site) Stereogum all the time.”
Allocating advertising dollars is not an easy decision, more so now, in the fact that distribution and media channels have become fragmented. There’s like fifty bazillion places to advertise on the internet while radio advertising is expensive for only a second clip . Some labels like ATO are focusing on old school advertising like Cable TV.
“All of this is really a symptom of a larger problem,” Hoess says. “It’s a lean time for everyone. Labels’ revenues are drying up, and record sales are down, which leads to smaller ad budgets. For us, losing Harp and No Depression is the print equivalent of Tower Records closing — we are an eclectic label, and we are losing coverage outlets.”