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The end ofthe free Strad poster for subscribers?


Melvin Goldsmith
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I opened my December Strad magazine in some haste when it arrived and turned immediately to an article about a late del Gesu.  At the end of the article there was notification that an unfolded poster of the violin would be for sale in January...I looked in vain for the 'folded' copy and checked with other subscribers and it does not exist!....If we can assume that this is the end of free posters from the Strad Mag I can't personallyreally think of any other reason to keep buying it...especially as most of what it reports  turned up on the web 6 weeks before...

 

 

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There are far more stringed instrument players than makers. It may be that a large percentage of those players hardly know what to do with their "Strad Posters," and the publisher is just making a calculated bet that posters included with the magazine aren't paying their way with a sufficient percentage of subscribers. It might make perfect economic sense to make the posters optional for those who want/need them, disappointing though that may be for makers.

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They quit putting folded up posters in the newsstand copies several years ago. Before that I would buy the poster issues even if I had no intention of copying the instrument. I have the Stainer viola and Rogeri cello posters but I'll never make a Rogeri cello, I just wanted it to see what the people here were talking about. Since they quit putting posters in the newsstand copies I think that I have only looked for the magazine once when a contributor here had an article in it.

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I feel quite annoyed about this. Recently I renewed a subscription, and I've just gone back and re read the email they sent me which states that as a subscriber I would receive "Two instrumental posters complete with dimensions and measurements".

 

As part of the offer at that time, I was able to choose another poster for free when taking out the order, I've yet to see that, but I doubt it will be coming now.

 

Since the issues containing posters are the only ones of any real interest to me, I can't see any reason to renew a subscription now.
The other issues I just flick through then put to one side for recycling.

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I feel quite annoyed about this. Recently I renewed a subscription, and I've just gone back and re read the email they sent me which states that as a subscriber I would receive "Two instrumental posters complete with dimensions and measurements".

 

As part of the offer at that time, I was able to choose another poster for free when taking out the order, I've yet to see that, but I doubt it will be coming now.

 

Since the issues containing posters are the only ones of any real interest to me, I can't see any reason to renew a subscription now.

The other issues I just flick through then put to one side for recycling.

Same here.

 

I just got my second issue, having renewed after a long break.

 

I feel another long break coming on.

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I don't know what's happened to the Strad magazine, I was at a violin makers meeting a few weeks ago where quite a few of us (myself amongst them) admitted to having not opened an issue of the Strad in about three years. I've been noticing a few of the staff here and there, and they seem completely disengaged with the violin world - that of making just as much as playing. At a study-day exhibition that we ran on the same weekend, the two goons from the Strad were staring blankly at the occasional thing muttering to themselves about why it would possibly be interesting to look at a [very rare seventeenth-century violin by a key maker] violin in pieces. Not even interested to try and figure out why 100 other people in the room might have felt there was interest. Just banal. 

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Perhaps they could have a players subscription, that includes the directory and the summer courses/accessories inserts and a makers subscription that includes the posters. They should also drop the workshop tours and use that space for something useful. I'd rather see pictures of their work! The first Strad I ever bought was the one with Guy Rabut on the cover and it was hugely inspiring for me as I was building my first violin at the time. Though I can understand how showcasing a living makers work could be tricky for them.

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Perhaps the existential struggle of print magazines in the Internet Age is at the root of this.

It seems to me that if they want to continue to exist and potentially increase sales, it would be a good idea to include content in the magazine that people are interested in.

 

At one point I considered buying a subscription when I was buying the newstand copies religiously every month. When the posters stopped, I was somewhat agitated that I was being punished for paying a premium price per copy at the newstand. After that, my interest dwindled to only purchasing ocassional copies that held something of interest. Lately, I rarely buy any of the issues.

 

I wonder if there is enough interest among the makers for an all-lutherie monthly publication?

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A longtime print subscriber from the 70's to 90's I started again as a digital subscriber in recent years. 

Overseas for long periods the electronic version has advantages in travel. I love being able to sit on a long flight and read cover to cover.

 

Sure, I agree with much said above. Articles short, lack of depth, trying to be 'all things to all people?'....

I do think too as Michael said above the challenge of all print media in the face of the internet is a factor.

 

Still,

I enjoy the concert and recording and occasional book reviews. The "in Focus" look at an instrument is not always up to expectations,and some chosen themes are not of great interest. I have no insight into the inside politics of the magazine but would be sad to see its complete demise.

I have bought a couple of special 'print' editions such as the March 2011 "Messiah" edition and the "Great Instruments" edition both of which had folded posters inside.

When the digital format was floated I inquired as to the fate of the posters for digital subscribers. At first I was told some solution might be forthcoming then the obvious issue of a digital version of a poster being easily copied was cited.

I will persevere with my digital subscription which I find reasonable value for money. 

 

When was the first poster included by the way? I don't remember it being a part of deal much before the 1990's.

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More in-depht articles would be nice too.... I find the articles just too short!

The criticisms posted so far are not confined to The Strad.  "Popular" magazines of all flavors have degenerated throughout my reading lifetime, with hobbyist, scientific, and technology/engineering rags having arguably all come down the worst while still being around (possibly from organizational inertia).  The poster (p.i.) child for this is National Geographic (gotten a good map from them lately?), compare a 1950's issue with a current one and see what I mean.  Over the same period, entire genres of primarily literary magazines have utterly disappeared.  

 

IMHO, the problem is societal.

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I agree. We are all subject to developments in whatever the "latest media" happens to be (on-line communication) ...which seems to consist of more...but briefer...bites...heavily saturated by ads.

I blame Twitter...

I haven't tired of The Strad yet.

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