Weekly survey: Do you still buy actual physical music magazines?

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t bought a physical music magazine in months, maybe over a year. I think the last one I bought was a copy of Rolling Stone before I boarded a flight to Las Vegas in January 2020. Since then, nothing.

I used to spend hundreds of dollars a year on magazines: Rolling Stone, Q, Mojo, Record Collector, Alternative Press, and a ton of others. There were always music magazines lying around the house and at least three on the coffee table at any one time.

But not anymore. Almost everything I get is online, either through a website on my computer, an app on my phone or some kind of aggregator on my iPad.

To be fair, a lot of music magazines have stop publishing, crushed by the effect of the internet and starved from advertising as record labels stopped buying space to promote new releases. A few gamely hang on, but you’ve got to wonder how much longer they’ll survive.

My question to you this week is, “Do you still read actual printed music magazines?” Here are your choices.

I’m not being flippant with that third choice. There are so many young people who have never held ANY printed magazine in their hands. They’ve never needed or wanted to.

I do miss flipping through new magazines. And although I hate all the new paywalls being put up by many publications, I understand why they do that. Maybe I need to start up again. Now all I have to do is find a nearby store with a newsstand that carries the surviving mags I used to read.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Weekly survey: Do you still buy actual physical music magazines?

  • March 1, 2021 at 10:46 am

    I definitely do, but not as often as I used to. There are a couple of UK imports I still pick up on occasion; Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. I still subscribe to Guitar World, if that counts.

  • March 1, 2021 at 10:48 am

    I miss the days of running home from school and Spin, Rolling Stone, or CMJ (Complete with a CD sampler.) were sitting on my bed. Not much from those older copies from the 80’s and 90’s didn’t get read. I used to even scour the “classifieds” in Rolling Stone for cool t-shirts.

    Somewhere after the turn of the century, my music mag subscriptions started falling by the wayside. I remember specifically the last nail in Rolling Stones coffin, for me. (I had to look it up but it was April 2008.)

    I was flying from NYC to LA for a weekend with friends and I had NOTHING to read. So, I ran over to the news stand and had every intention to buy a Rolling Stone and Spin for the flight… for old time’s sake. I was feeling nostalgic for this well over 10 years ago! Crazy.

    The Hills was on the cover of Rolling Stone. THE HILLS!!!! I stood there for a second just staring at the cover and thinking, “what the [email protected]*$?” Spin had REM on their cover and they were 15 years and 5 albums removed from when they meant anything to me. So, I bought the NY Post and a Sudoku book. (Fun Fact: That Sudoku book sat on the back of my toilet until about 2 or 3 years ago, when it just disappeared.)

    The Hills!!! On the cover of ROLLING STONE magazine!!!! What a harbinger of the world to come. No talent buffoons worshipped like Rock Stars for no other reason than they make asses of themselves on TV. Eight years later and we, here in the states, elected one of those assholes president.

    ANYWHO, I deleted my Twitter because of all the propaganda, so I couldn’t vote in the poll. I came here to say, and I took the long way around the block to say it, that survey needs a 4th option…

    1. Yes.
    2. No. Online Reading only.
    3. What’s a Music Magazine?
    4. Music magazines are DEAD to me.

  • March 2, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    As it is difficult, if not pandemic-ly possible to find physical copies of magazines, read the e-versions if still available. Not so much anymore….


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