What’s Wrong with Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine?

This must be the $64 question that a lot of the subscribers and purchasers of the magazine must be pondering right now as they await delivery of issue #70. I call it the $64 question. Actually it’s the $29.95 to $153.70 question since the current prices for subscriptions are all over the place, depending upon whether you select a one year digital only or a two year international print and digital subscription.

In 2009, the magazine managed to get out one issue … under “new” management … that promised they would get the magazine back on its bimonthly schedule. That issue came out in October 2009 after months of delivery promises that began roughly in July of last year.

Then the magazine stated it would begin the bimonthly schedule in earnest in mid January of 2010. That was three months ago.

Now, on their Facebook page, the “owners, publishers, editors … whomever” have claimed that the magazine was mailed a “few days” before 18 March. That was a little over a week ago now. Even with the notoriously slow USPS media mail, surely someone should have received their issue by now. Yet, to date, there is no indication of that. Media mail can be notoriously slow, taking two to three weeks for delivery; but, if you live one town away from the mail drop, it shouldn’t take that long for delivery, not even a week. Yet, there’s no indication on the Facebook page that anyone has received an issue thus far.

A few weeks ago, a check of the list of contacts on the Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine page revealed that Ron Garant, the previous owner of the magazine, was still lingering on in the capacity of “assistant editor”. Tonight, a review of the lists of contacts reveals that the “assistant editor” is no longer listed. Interesting …

It should also be noted that, in that same time, the locations of everyone concerned has also , again, shifted from a township in mid upstate New York to New Jersey. I’m not sure of the cause for that, although some of the commenters on my previous post,“Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine” … !!!!!CAUTION!!!!!, regarding this magazine did mention filing complaints in New York state against the magazine.

Let’s assume that in the next week or so people will start receiving their copy of the magazine, issue #70. Then what?

This is already butting up against the advertised distribution date for issue #71, week of April 19th. If issue #70 is delivered within the next week or so, that will mean a time span between issues of over five months, … not exactly bimonthly, barely semi-annually. And, that’s being generous considering the one issue last year. Who out there actually expects to receive issue #71 in mid April?

So …

Why can’t these people deliver the magazine as promised?

They seem to have no problem in getting material together. There seems to be a wealth of musicians willing to contribute to the magazine. I can’t comment on their advertising revenues since I’ve never seen a copy of the magazine, but certainly they do have advertisers.

I have a very simple hypothesis regarding the problems of the magazine … money.

Why would it take more than three months to publish a magazine whose content seemed to be formulated three months ago? In one simple word … money. They didn’t have the money to take the magazine to press. And, it’s taken them more than three months to scrap up the money, if, in fact, they actually have. That would require them to be taking in money faster than they’re spending it.

This also brings into question, the future of the magazine. If it’s taken three months to get together the money to publish one issue, what’s happened to the money that should have been held in reserve to publish future issues?

When I googled “Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine” tonight, the lead post that came up was my previous post. The magazine’s website came up on page 5 of the search … page 5. I know how many hits it’s taken to get my post in the number one spot … and that gives me an indication of the interest in the magazine, when their website is on page 5.

Their Facebook page, as well as pages on other social networking sites, may be having a relative amount of interest … but I haven’t noticed that people can actually subscribe on those sites. Correct me if I’m wrong, but people actually have to go to the magazine’s website to subscribe or buy an issue.

I guess a question has to be asked. Has my post been detrimental to the magazine. My surmise would be that it has to a small extent.

But, my post would be a dead and forgotten issue if the magazine had simply delivered as advertised. I would be written off as some disgruntled hack. Unfortunately, for everyone interested in the magazine, the failure of the magazine to produce a product and deliver it as advertised has fed the interest in my post, giving it significant validity.

If I’m wrong, someone please tell me.

I think it’s time for the “new” owner and all concerned with the publication of the magazine to be open and up front with the people who have already paid for subscriptions and issues as well as those interested in doing likewise.

Is there enough interest in the magazine to keep it going?

A little open and honest communication from the owner seems to be appropriate now. I don’t include the editor in that statement since I don’t think he knows what’s going on.

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“Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine” … !!!!!CAUTION!!!!!

MAJOR UPDATE: 25 January 2010

Has anyone received Issue #70 yet???

Just curious.

This evening I decided to check just to see how things were going with the magazine under “new management”, especially since the number of hits on this article have been steadily increasing since mid January. For the uninitiated, that’s when the next issue, Issue #70, was promised … three, not two, months, after #69 … which was about a year after #68 … all in a “bimonthly” magazine. That means every two (2) months, not three months, … not a year later, … and definitely not “never again” … until the smoke clears and we can catch a new batch of the unsuspecting.

I found it curious that there hasn’t been an “official” posting on the magazine’s Facebook page since … 9 December 2009 …, although there was a “complaint” by some one who had ordered a back issue a long time ago and still hadn’t received it as of yesterday. By the way, he was “promised” that the “back issue” issue was resolved back in October of 2009 by Mr. Foss.

Another curious thing …

When I clicked on the “official” web page of “Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine” a short while ago, I got … “PAGE NOT FOUND” …  hummmmm!!!

Maybe it was just a server error … or something.

It does appear though, if you still want to play Russian Roulette with your money, you plop the hard earned cash down for some back issues at http://www.bassics.com/. It appears the last ounce of “sucker’s money” is trying to be squeezed out of this gambit.

Good Luck!!! I think I’d prefer to take my chances with a real revolver and a single bullet.

Well, am I just spouting some more “libel” … or … does the old adage of “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” seem to be appropriate?

So …

Has anyone received Issue #70 … you know the one that’s supposed to start this outfit off on a year of delivering a magazine every two months as promised … and paid for?

Just curious ….

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(below written 5 March 2009)

Today, I got the distinct impression that I’m not the only person having problems with this outfit … or website, Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine.

This outfit also claims to produce “Bassics Magazine” for bass guitar players. Both are published by MI Media LLC.

Actually, I shouldn’t complain about the website. The design is great! Kudos to the designer!! Except, he doesn’t have anything to do with the magazine. He just designed the site.

Okay, I enjoy playing the guitar … or playing at it. And, I like books and magazines about things that I enjoy.

But …

What I don’t like … are people that take your money … and don’t even say “Thank You” … or even send you a receipt to acknowledge the fact that they’ve taken your money.

And …

We haven’t even gotten to discussing the product.

Well, I can’t honestly discuss the product … because I haven’t received it.

It’s been nearly three months since I paid my money and … no recognition of payment … no “Thank You” … and no product.  I think there’s a name for that. I won’t use it right now … but it’s one the tip of my tongue.

I’ve written their subscription department … no response.

I’ve called their subscription department … a message stating, “We’re having problems with the post office. Please leave your name and address and we’ll send you another issue of #68 our last issue.

Well, #68 was their last issue … last year. It’s March. What about this year? Let’s see … six issues a year. That comes out to … one issue every two months … right? And, it’s March. Sounds like there’s some catching up to do.

Oh … I also tried to leave a comment on their comment page. You know the blank space just below the place where they say, “We always like to hear from you.”  Well, I got some kind of “blocked server” error … several times. I’m hard headed and don’t give up easily.

Well, it’s a beautiful site … can’t argue with that … and it promises a lot … like a siren song above the crashing waves. Okay, you’ve been warned! It looks like there are some very sharp rocks and not soft sand beneath those waves.

By the way, if you guys at “Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine” have a problem with this, “Call me”. I left a message … and several e-mails.

And, you can talk to my credit card company … if you wonder where the money went.

Also, if you want a great guitar magazine, subscribe to “Acoustic Guitar Magazine“. They have a great magazine, e-letters, and a great website … that delivers on its promise. You’ll get your money’s worth … and they’ll say “Thank You”. They aren’t dedicated to “fingerstyle” but have a lot on it and you won’t feel like you’ve been “taken to the cleaners.

MAJOR UPDATE – 21 July 2009

The a comment posted on 21 July by Rich Merek included the following e-mail from an Alfred Foss who claims to be the new owner of “Fingerstyle Magazine”:

Rich,

Thanks for your email regarding the status of your Fingerstyle Guitar magazine subscription.

I recently purchased the magazine from the prior owners, MI Media, 2 weeks ago and I am working to return the magazine to a regular delivery schedule. While I acknowledge the challenges prior ownership had experienced, I wanted to personally communicate to you that I have committed the necessary resources and management changes to make sure the magazine is properly supported.

I apologize for the delay of you receiving your next issue. You will receive the next issue in about 4 weeks (it is currently finished and in production) and your subscription will continue as usual.

I have attached a press release which was just completed and will be circulated at the CAAS (Chet Atkins Appreciation Society) festival in Nashville starting Wednesday July 8th. It highlights some of the initiatives new ownership will be undertaking to make the magazine better.

I appreciate your patience and loyalty during this transition period and hope you share the same excitement I have regarding the direction Fingerstyle is going. We have some exciting new ideas and content in store for the upcoming issues. If you have any questions please contact me.

Regards,

Alf

Alfred Foss
alf@fingerstyleguitar.com

Hopefully, things will get squared away with the magazine. Until that is more positively indicated, I would continue to exercise extreme caution in dealing with the magazine under any claimed management or ownership. Note that the e-mail was apparently written prior to 7/8/2009 since it refers to an “upcoming” event on that date.