Internet killed the magazine star

Visit the ICE magazine web site, and you know something is amiss. There’s a bunch of JavaScript code that isn’t being hidden. There’s an announcement about the March issue missing its deadline, and no hint of an April issue is in sight.

Well, there isn’t going to be one.

Production on the magazine has halted, and a announcement posted in the March issue calling for investors glossed over what is evidently an alarming situation.

Unfortunately, the rot had set in a while back. For the past year, I’ve noticed sloppy layout and redundant listings. In one issue, a jump tag was floating in the middle of some text. In the most recent issue, the Bangkok 5 was listed twice under two different dates, its named spelled "The Bangkok Five" and "Bangkok 5". I wondered why editorial quality control seemed so lax.

I subscribed to the magazine back in 1992, and I was buying issues at least a year or two before then. So I’ve been reading ICE for about 15 years. Every time a new issue arrives in the mail, I get that giddy Christmas feel.

I won’t speculate too deeply on the woes of a magazine I’ve read since I was a teenager. But like everything else related to the recording industry, ICE faces the same competition as record labels — Internet, television, video games.

Why depend on a magazine to report release dates when artists nowadays can market directly to their fans?

Myself, I would be sad if the magazine shuttered. I’m not a fan of the other alternatives out there for release news. Billboard’s site is clunky and bloated with ads. Amazon has extensive listings, but their particular editorial slant favors what would sell for them the most.