You probably know by now that the newspaper industry is in the crapper—-and no amount of image-heavy redesigns, promoted with the help of faux-U2 soundtracks, is going to staunch the bleeding. The same problems are hitting the magazine industry as well. There are plenty of canaries in that particular coal mine; personally, I get a read on it by going through my mail, which routinely includes a plea of some sort by Interview magazine to rejoin its roster of readers.
I subscribed to the magazine a few years back, seduced by a too-good-to-pass-up annual “media professional” rate of $18. I quickly realized I’d overpaid. Flipping through its pages—-it kind of encourages flipping and repels reading—-I was left with more questions than answers. Why did every record review read like a publicist wrote it? Why was Scarlett Johansson participating in practically every interview and photo shoot? Why was Devendra Banhart in practically everything else? What the fuck are you talking about, Greil Marcus?
So, I let my subscription lapse. Interview kept sending issues for a while anyway, with pleas to resubscribe. Then came mailings asking me to please, please sign up again, at ever-dropping rates. Online, they’re pushing a sub rate below $10. But they’re willing to sell even cheaper, based on the letter I got yesterday:
Tempting, but no. Sorry, Interview. Start offering me 12 issues for $2, and then we can start talking. I suspect that offer is coming soon.