R.I.P. Punk Planet (1994 - 2007)
Published Jun 19, 2007After 13 years operating as an independent magazine, the Chicago-based Punk Planet has announced that it has published its final issue, thanks to "bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers."
In an email to subscribers, founder, editor and art director Dan Sinker wrote:
As much as it breaks our hearts to write these words, the final issue of Punk Planet is in the post, possibly heading toward you right now. Over the last 80 issues and 13 years, we've covered every aspect of the financially independent, emotionally autonomous, free culture we refer to as "the underground." In that time we've sounded many alarms from our editorial offices: about threats of co-optation, big-media emulation, and unseen corporate sponsorship. We've also done everything in our power to create a support network for independent media, experiment with revenue streams, and correct the distribution issues that have increasingly plagued independent magazines. But now we've come to the impossible decision to stop printing, having sounded all the alarms and reenvisioned all the systems we can. Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers.
As to the latter two points, we could blame the Internet. It makes editorial contentand bandseasy to find, for free. (We're sure our fellow indie labels, those still standing, can attest to the difficulties created in the last few years). We can blame educational and media systems that value magazines focused on consumerism over engaged dissent. And we can blame the popular but mistaken belief that punk died several years ago.
But it is also true that great things end, and the best things end far too quickly.
As to bad distribution deals, we must acknowledge that the financial hit we took in October of 2005, when our newsstand distributor announced that it was in dire straits, was worse than we originally thought. As the dust began to clear from their January bankruptcy announcement, we began to realize that the magazine was left in significantly worse shape, distribution-wise, than they let on.
Add to that the stagnation that the independent record world is suffering under and the effect that has had on our ad sales, not to mention the loss of independent bookstores with a vested interest in selling our publication, and it all adds up to a desperate situation. This has been made far worse by the exhaustion felt from a year and a half of fighting our own distributor. It was a situation that didn't have an exit strategy other then, well, exiting.
The books line will continue to publish, and the website will continue to be a social networking site for independently minded folk; Dan will be staying with both, but Anne will be moving on, only blogging occasionally at punkplanet.com
Thank you for your direct support of Punk Planet--your subscriptions have helped to keep us going for 13 years. Most of you still have issues remaining in your subscription. We're lining up some amazing independent magazines to take over your subscriptions and will be in touch about those shortly. Those of you that would prefer to receive back issues instead, let us know which numbers and we will happily get them out to you. If neither of those options work for you, please get in touch.
There probably isn't much else to say that we haven't already said in PP80in articles about new activist projects, SXSW, the demise of the IPA, and transgender media, and in interviews with the G7 Welcoming Committee, Andre Schiffrin, and The Steinways. Read it, enjoy it, and find in it enough inspiration to last until we come back in some other form, at some other time, renewed and ready to make another outstanding mark on the world.
Thank you very much,