I'm calling it. Time Off is being executed and it has seven days to get its affairs in order.
Time Off, Drum Media and InPress will disappear forever after next week's editions. These long-standing titles will be given a new name, 'The Music', given a new smaller shape and gettin' all glossed-up, according to their publisher, Street Press Australia. I say you can't change a magazine's name!! and change its shape and change its stock and still say it exists... no one would, except perhaps Craig Thompson or Eddie Obeid.
One can only wonder whether this decision was precipitated by this suggestion on MusicFeeds noting that no one under the age of 30 carries around newsprint titles any more, or whether spiralling page count is to blame (Time Off is down almost 40% in just 12 months). Scene Magazine changed its format from tabloid newsprint to A4 gloss a decade ago — hearty welcome to the 21st century, lads.
Street Press Australia should have the class to say 'it's over' with grace — not a self-serving bullet to the back of the head on a moment's notice. Where was the long-lead announce befitting the cessation of these grand old titles? Hundreds of old-timers of my vintage no doubt have very fond memories, and many (those without vested interests) won't be happy with either the execution or the manner of its announcement.
In recent years, SPA has parted with the best part of a $2,000,000 to acquire the goodwill from these mastheads (if you say it quickly it doesn't seem so much). It was the goodwill they bought, not the publishing know-how. Anyone can start a glossy mag and call it The Music or The Vibe or The Pits or whatever, but to pay 2 very large ones for the names and then kill them off to start afresh…
Goodwill is a title's masthead, its blood, its legacy — all that is evoked at the drop of its name. And now those names have been terminated. Something's obviously stopped resonating.
Moralising aside, on an upbeat note, we can always enjoy the spin. This latest effort to frame the undeniable regarding the future of print and the actual death of Time Off, Drum Media and InPress has been presented as ... "exciting news!". It should be respectfully billed as the end of an era.