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fRoots April Festival Issue

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:08 pm
by Ian A.
fRoots 298, the April 2008 issue, is at the printers and will head off to subscribers next week. Street date is 20th March.

The main feature of each April issue is our annual Festival Supplement including the diary listing of hundreds of 2008’s UK and European events and lots of tempting adverts. On top of this great resource (our second biggest in more than a decade, indicating the buoyancy of the current scene) we’ve got a cover feature on Britfolk best-seller Seth Lakeman , a preview of Channel 5’s upcoming My Music series of documentaries on UK folk artists, features on Turkey’s Taksim Trio , a re-visit to Ethiopia , US/Cambodian band Dengue Fever , Denmark’s Phønix , the Recapturing The Banjo project, Greece’s Eleftheria Arvanitaki , Cuba’s Martica , Cape Verde’s Mario Lucio , the 21st anniversary of Piranha Records , Sami singer Mari Boine Persen , veteran songwriter Leon Rosselson plus all our usual unrivalled news and reviews coverage.

And in this issue's upfront fRoots Playlist, Melingo Maldito Tango (Manana/ Naive), Various Black Mirror (Dust-to-Digital), Ross Ainslee & Jarlath Henderson Partners In Crime (Vertical), Various Rumba: The Kinshasa-Abidjan Sessions (Marabi), DeVotchKa A Mad And Faithful Telling (Anti-), Xabi Aburruzaga Bizkaiko Trikitixa (Laute), Zegar Zivi Zegar Zivi (Cloud Valley), Piccola Banda Ikona Marea Cu Sarea (Finisterre), Various Umulali (Cumbancha) and King Kora Bundung (RecRec). Tracks from all those plus more from this issue's featured and reviewed artists will be heard on the April fRoots Radio which will hit the e-waves from around 12th March. You can still hear the current and archived editions at www.frootsmag.com/radio

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:38 pm
by That Was Jonathan E. Then
And the late breaking news for any US-based foumnistas is that I actually saw a copy of the March 2008 fRoots for sale in Seattle last week! Wonders will never cease.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:53 pm
by Ian A.
Jonathan E. wrote:And the late breaking news for any US-based foumnistas is that I actually saw a copy of the March 2008 fRoots for sale in Seattle last week! Wonders will never cease.

Blimey. Must be an escapee - we've not distributed much to the news trade in the USA for a while as we've been burned so many times by US distributors who haven't paid us. But this will change for the better shortly as we've found a new and hopefully reliable route policed by our UK news stand distributor.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:17 pm
by That Was Jonathan E. Then
I'm very glad to hear that. Distribution in the US for UK-based magazines is a constant struggle and fRoots has certainly been squeezed many times. It seemed to me that the distributor would change at least twice a year. One of the big problems I think is that there is a horrendous level of waste accepted as normal in US business. You know, get in 20 copies, sell 2, strip the covers of the unsold copies and into the garbage with them(recycling if you're lucky, now at least) — after carefully removing the cover-mount CD and selling it through other channels. At least at Down Home, they'd keep the old issues of magazines to sell even after the publication date and that was a good thing. As I recall, however, all fRoots with a CD sold out pretty fast. Anyway, Down Home was the honorable exception to almost all American business practices. US businesses also expect extremely liberal trade policies, often asking for 60 days from invoice to pay, especially the larger corporate outlets. Smaller indies are usually granted 30 days, although increasingly it's now COD. So there's a long chain between fRoots leaving England, arriving in a US store, and the money returning to Ian A's coffers. At an extreme, you might expect it to take 4 months to get paid, maybe even more given the complexities of international trade — and that seems to me to be about as bad as not getting paid at all.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:28 am
by Ian A.
Jonathan E. wrote:Down Home was the honorable exception to almost all American business practices. At an extreme, you might expect it to take 4 months to get paid, maybe even more given the complexities of international trade — and that seems to me to be about as bad as not getting paid at all.

Yes, Down Home extremely good: US distributors have been almost entirely bad! As I said, the norm was to not get paid at all, in the full knowledge that at the distance we were, there was sod all we could do about it. Seemed to be absolutely standard practice, to the point we assumed this was accepted US business practice, but not one we cared to participate in! And agree with you about wastage: we've always tried to keep our print runs very tight, hence concentration on building our circulation through subscription over many years. I'm amazed, considering the rotten dollar/pound exchange rates and postal costs, how many US subscribers constantly come back for renewal. Thanks to any of you who are reading this!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:41 am
by That Was Jonathan E. Then
Truly, fRoots is in a class of its own. The American competition is slight — and, sadly, Songlines is losing its "must-read" quality for me. But, for an assortment of reasons, I would much prefer to buy my copies of fRoots issue by issue rather than have a subscription. So, I really hope that this new US distribution is successful for you. I'll keep looking.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:40 am
by Tom McPhillips
Ian A. wrote: I'm amazed, considering the rotten dollar/pound exchange rates and postal costs, how many US subscribers constantly come back for renewal. Thanks to any of you who are reading this!


well I said I'd subscribe if you came back after the last meltdown (please refer to the "Throwing shoes at the clouds" thread elsewhere!), so I did, and it is expensive, but it's worth every penny - Thank you for that and your return!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:41 am
by Tom McPhillips
Oh, and isn't the new Lais album really great? Nice review...

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:00 pm
by Ian A.
Tom McPhillips wrote:Thank you for that and your return!

Er - we haven't been away. I'm rather proud that our imminent 300th also is with every single issue published on time, no hiatus ever. Even the venerable Sing Out! (b. 1950 I think) had a few unfortunate crisis breaks - according to Mark Moss, their current editor, we now hold the record for continuous unbroken publication and (adjusts zimmer frame and comb-over) longest serving editor. I'm not sure if the latter is an advantage though . . .

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:20 pm
by Tom McPhillips
No, I meant your personal return to the forum, silly!

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:08 pm
by Ian A.
The main www.frootsmag.com front page is now updated for the April issue including a trailer for the Channel 5 My Music series and a nice video of featured band Taksim Trio from Turkey. The site also now carries our preview feature on the TV series plus the complete 2008 Festivals Diary, just a tiny fraction of this, our second biggest April issue in 10 years.

The April issue is being posted out to subscribers on Friday after a slight delay caused by press breakdowns out our printers, but still well ahead of street publication date. The April fRoots Radio is now live - www.frootsmag.com/radio

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:24 pm
by Charlie
I used to start fRoots at the back, with the Readers' Letters, and have occasionally grumbled to its editor since their demise. He claims that all the feedback is now via the website forum, but I still thought he should cherry-pick the best comments and print them.

But now I'm starting at the back again since the introduction of Gordon Neil's bizarre concept of inviting celebrities and charlatans (is there a difference?) to review an album on which they are eminently unsuited to comment. This month, Posh Spice picks her way through Devon Sproule's album like a fussy child being told to eat something it doesn't like. It's daft, but it works to the end, another little gem. How does he think of them? Gordon, I mean, not Ian.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:38 pm
by Gordon Neill
Wow! Thanks for your praise, Charlie. I think I'll get that message printed and framed.

But I do have a confession. The bizarre concept was actually suggested to me by the not-bizarre June the Clowns. She has also operated as an invaluable quality control mechanism - basically, I keep redrafting until she stops saying 'shite'. So far it's worked...