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April 7, 2015

Crowdfunding campaign helps tablet-based digital music magazine to go monthly

By Robert Griffiths

Independent music magazine Electronic Sound is to increase its frequency from quarterly to monthly.

The title was first published, as a print edition, by Future in 2012. But when the publisher sold its music titles, former Melody Maker writers Push (Christopher Dawes) and Mark Roland decided to take it on independently. They published it as a quarterly digital edition for the first time in April 2013. 

Last June, when the Norwich-based title received £175,000 funding from UK Trade and Investment, Dawes and Roland worked on it alone.

Now Electronic Sound has four full-time and three part-time editorial staff as well as 25 freelance contributors.

Ahead of its first monthly edition, it has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which has so far raised £9,598 from 211 backers. Its aim was to raise £10,000 before printing its first monthly issue.

The publication is available in an interactive version through an app for phone and tablet, a Kindle version and a PDF for desktop reading.

Push said: “The Kickstarter is not just about raising money – it’s about raising awareness as well.”

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It is hoped that people will buy an annual subscription to a new ‘Electronic Sound Music Club’, which costs £35 a year, and includes a free record, downloads and exclusive offers for a year.

Push said that such offers mean that “Electronic Sound is not just a music magazine – we give you more, so it is more like a club”.

Other items available through the Kickstarter page include T-shirts and tote bags, as well as an invitation to a launch party in June with members of German group Kraftwerk.

Also offered is the title of ‘Executive Publisher’, which will mean having your name printed in the magazine “for the rest of your days” at a cost of £5,000.

One backer bought a specially-made and signed synthesiser for £750 last week.

Electronic Sound claims a 25,000 readership of its quarterly edition, which has a free version as well as the full issue. An estimated 70 per cent of readers are in the UK, with 15 per cent in the US, and 15 per cent in the rest of Europe.

Push stressed that it is “not a dance music magazine – it is for people interested in listening to electronic music, the making of electronic music, and the machinery of electronic music".

Electronic Sound “started from our kitchen table” where the duo had to “learn off our own back” about how to make a modern digital magazine, which they now feel is ahead of the curve in its technology.

Push said: "Most big publishers don’t do what we do, even though they could with their resources.

"I say it is because we are a small speed boat that can turn around fast, while they are a big oil tanker.”

Push was at Melody Maker for ten years from 1985 – a period he calls the “golden years” – as a feature writer and section editor.

He was then editor of dance music magazine Muzik and men’s lifestyle magazine Mondo, before leaving journalism to write books.

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