1. I never understood why Haymarket bought Gramophone in the first place, as it was not an obvious 'fit' with their other titles. Besides, I know people who work for Heseltine plc and it's a production line, not the right place for a specialised title like Gramophone.
2. Editorial changes: Jolly and Inverne seemed to coincide with - or even prompt - a change of tone/emphasis. That new-found 'informality' led to a series of disastrous redesigns that 'glossified' the mag, but this riot of competing fonts and column measures made it a struggle to read.
3. Lack of gravitas: the new 'chumminess' didn't appeal to me at all; I - and I suspect many others - just wanted authoritative comment/reviews, and not an artist-led coffee-table mag. Leg on leg text, so what? It was the content that mattered, Truncated reviews and an avalanche of clichés did the rest for me.
4. The Internet: anyone with an interest in print media knows that this is the biggest threat to paper and ink. Frankly I can find what I want on the web for free, so where's the incentive to pop into W H Smith on a Saturday or take out a subscription? Call it the democratisation of ideas, but there are so many voices out there - MusicWeb's included - and people seem content to listen to them.
All very sad, as I read Gramophone avidly for years; it was always the place I turned to for advice and guidance. Besides, they had so many good writers, so there was much pleasure to be had in the reading too. In an age of speed and superficiality, of click and scroll, that skill isn't appreciated as much as it once was. Perhaps the new owners will wreak a transformation, but given the years of decline and a radically changed market they will have a hard time doing so.
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