Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Global Rhythm Magazine to go exclusively on line

Today's mail brought the sobering news that Global Rhythm Magazine, which has been publishing the leading U.S.-based monthly periodical on world music since 1992, will become an exclusively online publication, due, in their words, "to astronomical cost increases and our desire to reach a broader audience" with the goal of taking "the world's leading global music and culture publication completely digital."  

This development is not unusual in the "hard copy" publishing world, with leading newspapers feeling the losses of sales and circulation with the expansion of the Internet, and "niche publications" such as Global Rhythm, feeling the crunch as well.  Yet as I have myself discovered--as an old duffer who likes nothing better than to caress the newsprint of the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Village Voice with my musician's fingers as I browse the latest news--there is a certain efficiency in reading the news on line.  

It was in connection with trying to keep abreast of music stories in the first two newspapers cited above for this blog--when "hard copies" were not always to be found in the office--that I began to go to the Web pages of the Times and the Post (mercifully, I have my own subscription to the beloved Village Voice--which has kept me abreast of cutting-edge musical developments for the past 35 years).  So, most reluctantly, when I arrived at the office in the morning, rather than scrounging (often unsuccessfully) for the previous day's Times or Post, I began to go on line to the NYT and WP Websites, and what I lost in the tactile sensation of caressing the pages of those wonderful newspapers, I found in the ease of searching out stories--not only in the daily paper, but in past issues which I might have missed.  In most cases I resisted the temptation to print out the stories--accustomed to reading from paper as I am--and simply tried to absorb in a purely mental process the stories that interested me, and then bookmarked them for future reference.

Well, it's a shade before two o'clock in the morning here in Washington, and here I am celebrating--yes, celebrating--Global Rhythm's courageous decision to commit itself entirely to the new digital media format--at the same time as mourning losing the pleasure of leafing through it's sumptuously glossy pages, with their constant revelations of musical talents that were yet to be discovered:  not only the music features, and reviews, and advertisements of oh-so-rich an expanding field of musicians of every imaginable category, but--dammit, yes--recipes from some of the countries and cultures profiled:  a wonderfully visionary expansion of the sensuous joys of food as well as music, and proof positive of the experience I have had with so many musicians (at least those from South Asia and the Middle East), who value superb cuisine as in indispensable part of their own musical experience of life.

I don't think my friends at Global Rhythm would appreciate a call from me at this hour, but I will be contacting them in the following days to find out more about their new plans, and look forward to sharing these ideas with you.  In the meantime, do go to their Website,, to begin to experience their rich and unique coverage of the various musics--and related cultures--of the world.

And please join me in wishing my old friend Alecia J. Cohen (Founder, Associate Publisher) and my newer friend, Tad Hendrickson (Editor-in-Chief), as well as Steve Bernstein (President, Publisher, whose acquaintance I've not had the pleasure of making) the best of good fortune in the new direction of their unique publication.   

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