It’s a double whammy for our Publisher 1-On-1 interview today!
We spoke to Jazzwise’s Editor-In-Chief Jon Newey alongside Editor Mike Flynn about what they love most about working at the magazine, their jazz festival dreams and how they’ve found remote working during the pandemic.
Over the last ten years, Jazzwise has become the biggest-selling jazz magazine in Britain. In fact, it now outsells all the other UK jazz magazines put together. With agenda-setting news and comment, a comprehensive gig guide, in-depth features, exclusive interviews and over 100 CDs, books and DVDs reviewed in each issue it’s become widely acknowledged as the monthly music bible for serious music fans.
The interview with Jon & Mike is below — so get reading!
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1) What’s your role within Jazzwise?
J: I was part of the founding team at Jazzwise when it launched in 1997 and now I’m Editor-In-Chief and a director of Mark Allen Music, Leisure and Travel.
M: I’m the editor of Jazzwise.
2) What’s the best thing about working at Jazzwise?
J: Being able to realize my dream and vision of how a jazz magazine should look, think and read.
M: Sharing so much great music with the world every month and giving new artists a platform to develop from — it’s obvious, from the last year especially, that music is so important to people’s lives on so many levels — so continuing to publish right through pandemic felt like it was appreciated by our readers and the music community.
3) What impact has the pandemic had on your publication, both short-term and long-term?
J: Like all music magazines, we lost copy sales from newsagents being closed and advertisement revenue from the complete closure of jazz festivals, clubs, concert halls and other live activity. However, we continued publishing throughout the pandemic and both print and digital subscriptions have reached their highest ever levels. Now that the pandemic is hopefully easing, copy sales are growing again and so is ad revenue.
M: While we obviously lost sales on the high street, the upside was our subscriptions really took off — likewise we’d wanted to grow traffic to our website pre-pandemic anyway but to see the numbers of unique users trebling, with many international readers finding us online (and taking out subscriptions in many cases) was great. The long-term impact on the live music sector is hard to assess at this point but as so many people advertise live tours and festivals with us it may be some time before they come back again — but it is picking up again now.
4) What was your most unusual lockdown hobby?
J: Deep cleaning rare vinyl records that I bought on line through eBay, Discogs and elvinyl to remove dust for a better sound quality.
M: I’ve always been a keen runner for many years but never thought I could run a half marathon — and I’ve done four in the last year!
5) How have you found the experience of remote working over the past year?
J: I work partly from home anyway so not a life altering change, but I miss the talk about music, politics and life in the office, especially with this incompetent government creating worrying news on a daily basis.
M: I was freelance for ten years before working full-time with Jazzwise so going back to that kind of way of working didn’t feel that strange — and broadband permitting, technology has saved the day for sure — proving that it can all be done remotely if necessary.
6) Where are you most looking forward to travelling to, once restrictions allow?
J: To the next place I play a live gig, and to Cuba.
M: I’ve been fortunate to travel to many international jazz festivals in Europe and places like Malta, so I can’t wait to go back to Norway, which I love, and catch up with many colleagues and friends there as soon as restrictions are lifted.
7) What is your vision for Jazzwise in 10 years’ time?
J: To carry on leading the way with jazz magazine publishing in both print, digital and whatever platform comes along in the future. And to launch the first Jazzwise bookazine in 2022.
M: It would be wonderful if there’s still a demand for print magazines in ten years’ time for sure — there’s nothing quite like it in terms of reading and holding some physical in your hands, so there’s good chance there will be — but I do see a more hybrid of future of digital and print. Personally speaking, I’d like to see Jazzwise involved in more live events but also continuing our media partnerships with leading festivals such as Cheltenham, Love Supreme and the EFG London Jazz Festival — but we are doing a very special event next year for our 25th anniversary in March 2022, so look out for news on that in the coming months.
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Thank you so much for your brilliant answers, Jon & Mike — it’s been very insightful to hear from you. We hope you get to Cuba and Norway soon!
Stay tuned for another Publisher 1-On-1 next week. If you’d like to participate, please email the Exact Editions team on firstname.lastname@example.org.