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Enjoy the Music.com
Volume 6 No. 1
By Paul Messenger


  I must first apologise for the late appearance of your magazine. Ironically, the same thing happened exactly a year ago. Next year maybe Iíll have the good sense not to upgrade my computer halfway through the schedule. I could come up with more excuses, but thatís boring, so Iíll just apologise, promise to try and do better next time, and set myself a proper deadline to do just that. It ought not to be too difficult, as my close association with Hi-Fi Choice magazine (covering some 30 of the past 34 years) was terminated following the magazineís recent purchase by an organisation with the unlikely name of My Hobby Store (which also now owns Hi-Fi News).

Although the previous owners hadnít seemed in the least concerned, the new management was unhappy that HIFICRITIC was promoted on the basis that its freedom from advertising ensured superior independence from commercial pressures. I was effectively given an ultimatum that if I wanted to continue to work for Choice, I would have to give up editing CRITIC.

Even ignoring the fact that I react badly when someone tries to push me around, this was really no contest. Iíve always enjoyed editing as much as writing, so I like an arrangement that means I can edit HIFICRITIC while also contributing to it and other titles. Furthermore, I hoped that giving up Choice would give me more time to write for CRITIC.

I should add that getting off the Hi-Fi Choice treadmill after all these years has actually proved rather welcome. However, this change and the reason that lies behind it has also focused my attention on some of the less welcome politicking that goes on amongst the hi-fi media. Itís almost as though we were actually important parts of the industry, rather than merely parasitic commentators!

Itís part of my job as editor to choose and chase equipment for review. Unfortunately as HIFICRITIC is the newest magazine around with the smallest circulation, weíre inevitably low down the pecking order when it comes to receiving review product.

I donít particularly mind that, as Iím not the least interested in trying to Ďscoopí other magazines with Ďfirst reviewsí. Indeed, Iíd much rather run a review conducted after due consideration by an expert, than rush into print in order to be first. What does rather alarm me is the rumour that some magazines refuse to review a product at all unless given first dibs.

The advertising and editorial departments had very little communication when I was working in publishing houses back in the 1970s and 1980s, but today the links between them do seem to have become an area of some sensitivity.

Maybe times have changed, but as far as Iím concerned an editorís sole responsibility should be to search out the very best possible content to suit his readership. We might be the new kids on the hi-fi magazine block, but I believe weíre producing an interesting, varied and authoritative read for all hi-fi enthusiasts, and have managed to create a magazine that has its own distinctive identity.


Paul Messenger



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