This is a deeply personal journey.
Some of you may remember the Audio Video magazine of old. I used to contribute to the magazine, some 14 years or so in all. As time progressed my business interests took priority and increasingly squeezed my bandwidth availability for the magazine. I had effectively stopped contributing somewhere around 2005 when the Internet was just becoming a disruptive influence in the publishing world.
We all know what the Internet did to traditional print media and Audio Video was no different. The struggle to understand the new paradigms and the new models of how we as consumers digest media were not yet developed or understood. It took casualties and set up new heroes.
Along the last decade and a half the Internet has swung in pendulum like arcs. We now see the rise of the influencer and the death of the small local hi-fi dealer. We also see increasing access to increasing volumes of easy to consume media. You Tube is now the world’s second largest search engine and millions compete for your eyeballs on their particular niche. We see teenagers as minted millionaires. Cynics may also say that we also see new overlords of the Internet monitor and turn hapless users into marketable product that can be packaged and sold.
“If you’re not paying for the content, you are the content” is a mantra that has started to gain some traction. Phenomena such as Facebook, good or bad, have pervaded the social space and social media is now as real a thing as cancer. It ingrains with our human nature as naturally as technology is able to and has been successful beyond any one’s wildest imagination of just a miserable fifteen years back. We are starting a new generation that has never not known social media or been influenced by it. Tablet tantrums are the new norm for parents who may be struggling with how to deal with their own connectivity addictions.
I count myself among them.
Out of all of this sheer quantity of new content being generated and put online for us to consume a pattern has started to emerge. The ethos of the Internet is fast changing. The teenage millionaires are like all millionaires, rare and exceptional. And perhaps occasionally lucky. True Internet success is found in the same way it always has been throughout human history – through perseverance and hard work.
This explains what I have come to see as a lack of quality in content. Hyped articles focussing on controversy may be amusing but they are often not accurate. Taking a stand to bash a product or a service from behind a keyboard is within the grasp of everyone and it doesn’t make you special or unique. Shooting a video with cute kittens may work once, but its sustainability is perhaps questionable.
Audio Video magazine stood for sound principles of being fair to the product, the industry and its loyal subscribers. It needed both to survive and under the stewardship of Deon and Bob, the editor and publisher respectively, I like to believe that in achieved a measure of success in this regard. I apprenticed under Deon who left me enough rope to get myself into trouble sometimes, but who always had a kind word and a guiding hand in allowing me to express my views but in a manner that was just and equitable to save me from proper entanglement.
I can’t say I was perfect but overall the mix worked.
With Deon’s death some two years ago the void that was the hole that the print magazine filled in a specialist niche industry became bigger. From less coverage came none at all – and we all had to revert to going online for our confirmation biases in purchasing decisions within our commonly shared love of the impossibility of reproduction of live music through our owned equipment.
AV News is my attempt to get the band back together again. To provide locally generated content about locally available equipment that serves YOU, the dear and valued reader, to inform from a Consistent Credible Coverage ethos. To bring you quality over quantity, to avoid treating you like click bait and to serve as a starting point for you to refer to. Our job is ever as it has been as journalists – to bring you the news, the reviews, the thoughts, the opinions, the interest.
This is way bigger than one man. It needs you, and the team behind it to deliver the content. We have all the costs associated with content generation that the print magazine had, without any of the revenue generation capacity that the print magazine had. But if it is to be sustainable it has to pay its own way and that means value delivery to you that you’re prepared to part with a fraction of, and value delivery to advertisers to get their news to you about their offerings so that you can make your own mind up as what you will choose to accompany you on your musical hobby journey.
Which, these days, has expanded beyond all recognition. Car audio blows my mind. Portable sound blows my mind. Gaming console immersion blows my mind. Visual interface quality blows my mind.
I’m excited. Cannot wait to see what is coming our way next!
It is thus perhaps most appropriate to say this: Watch this space!