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Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes
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TOPIC: Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes
#1232
PJS

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Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 12
Hello everyone!

The editors and writers have been discussing your magazine. We would be interested to know what you particularly like about the magazine and anything you feel could be done to make it even better.

Do remember that Fireworks is only published every other month and we are limited as to the number of pages that can be published.

If, for example, you suggest that text size is increased, that would have to be at the expense of some of the content. Admittedly we do try to get in as much for you to read as possible, but perhaps you would like less content.

Do you think that reviews should have a scoring system?

Do you think that live reviews should only be published here on Rocktopia, so that they can appear as soon as possible after the gigs covered?

Do you have any suggestions for new / different things in the magazine.

Whatever you want to say, please air your views here.

Cheers, Paul
 
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#1233
martinhowse

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 0
Firstly, I have to say I am lost in admiration for those of you who put together the magazine in the first place. It's an extraordinary achievement (presumably on a relatively small budget). It's also refreshing that you acknowledge that things could be changed for the better. Here are my thoughts.

Many have alluded to the small font size - and I really do think that needs to be addressed. Clearly, that would mean shortened interviews and reviews, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I particularly like Mike Newdeck's reviews and interviews, because the former are concise and succinct; and the latter have a real journalistic integrity. Some other writers list each word of conversation between interviewer and interviewee verbatum - that's totally unnecessary. Report what was said, but don't quote each and every word. Mike's got the balance between informing the readership, but not bombarding them with superfluous detail, just about right.

I enjoy the articles on new labels and the like - perhaps a leaf can be taken out of Classic Rock AOR magazine (the benchmark in terms of journalistic quality, I think) with more articles on specific themes (rather than band interviews).

I don't want to sound overly critical - I love the magazine, and the fact that it's clearly written by fans for fans is endearing. It doesn't need wholesale changes, but some tweeks would be a step forward!
 
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#1234
PJS

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 12
Thank you for your contribution to the debate and your kind comments, Martin.

1. Budget. Budget? What budget??!! Fireworks is entirely staffed by volunteers, who everything for the love of the music. We even have to pay to have it stocked in W H Smith, and that's a regular ongoing payment! Personally, I think that's disgraceful...

2. Font Size... Yes, this is going to be one of the biggies in the discussion I think. Nearly every issue there is far too much to go into the magazine, and it is heartbreaking having to decide what to leave out. All of the writers/contributors like to see their work in print, although anything that is then published here at Rocktopia gets a much more massive readership (if the "hit rate" is a guide (and it is!))

3. Length of reviews and articles. This is going to be addressed. However, I shall limit myself to talking about reviews, as the Reviews Editor. Although the number of reviews in the magazine has increased in recent issues, so has the number of albums not being considered for review. There has been a huge upsurge in the number of releases in the genres that we fully or partially cover, and this has continued unabated over the end of 2012/start of 2013. This was not the case between 2011 and 2012; indeed 2012 started off very slowly indeed.

One of the things that distinguishes Fireworks (as an independent music publication) is that we try to give badly needed publicity and coverage to independent releases, and from bands and artists themselves. Many of these can only afford to release an EP, and while we generally did not review these in Fireworks, I did get to hear many that I would have liked to include but for which there simply was no space. However, as from Fireworks #55, Steven Reid is now writing a column called "Short Sharp Shots Of Rock" where he talks about these shorter releases in his own inimitable (great) style!

As for the main reviews, I am seriously considering having to reduce the reviews (number and or style) somehow. One thought is to have some longer reviews as now, but to make many much shorter: more along the lines of Mike Newdeck's concise ones.

I am also wondering about the live reviews section. In Fireworks #56, the ones being considered for publication are all from the period November/December 2012. I feel they are stale, and in the same way that the magazine carries no news (this function being totally handled by our news editor, Paul 'Woody' Woodward on Rocktopia) perhaps we should move to publishing all live reviews (only) on Rocktopia - and to try and get them on line as soon after the gigs as possible. I must stress that absolutely no decision has been made in respect of this or anything else - and that is why the editors and writers are keen for an open discussion here.

4. Classic Rock: the benchmark for journalistic quality. Well we are rather comparing apples and pears here: professional journalists who are paid for what they produce for that magazine compared with highly enthusiastic fans of the music who receive no payment whatsoever for what they produce. However, there is a slight overlap, as some of the writers for CR do also voluntarily write for Fireworks too, God love 'em!

5. More themed articles vs less band interviews. There are several things to say here. The band interviews are again something that I think sets Fireworks apart from any others with a similar musical focus. However, one of the writers for Fireworks is currently working on the first three of a series of very interesting features (I can reveal nothing more about this for now...sorry!!) that it is planned will eventually alternate with the record label series. The label series is good for quite a number of further episodes (I cannot believe that we are on the verge of the 30th installment!)BTW, and I had been doing some research about starting s series about rock clubs / rock venues and had an absolutely superb weekend at Yardbirds in Grimsby in summer 2011. However, it was clearly an undertaking for which I did not have the time suitably available.

Anyway, Martin - many thanks for your thoughts, and I hope you feel I have adequately covered each of your points.

best regards,

Paul
 
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#1235
juliocruz

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Re: Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 0
I love the magazine, but he font size is much too small. Lately, it takes away from my enjoyment of the magazine. Besides that I would like a rating system, where an album is rated by as many editors as possible. The ratings should then be presented in a matrix, with the albums on the left (from top to bottom, with the album with the highest average rating op top etc) and the editors on the top of the page. Only albums with 5 or more ratings get in the rating matrix. This system is used by Metal Hammer here in the Netherlands and I like it a lot, because you get several ratings (views) of an album and not only one, which could be of a fanboy.

Best regards,

Frank
 
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#1236
Hysteria

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 7
juliocruz wrote:
I love the magazine, but he font size is much too small. Lately, it takes away from my enjoyment of the magazine. Besides that I would like a rating system, where an album is rated by as many editors as possible. The ratings should then be presented in a matrix, with the albums on the left (from top to bottom, with the album with the highest average rating op top etc) and the editors on the top of the page. Only albums with 5 or more ratings get in the rating matrix. This system is used by Metal Hammer here in the Netherlands and I like it a lot, because you get several ratings (views) of an album and not only one, which could be of a fanboy.

Best regards,

Frank


I agree on the ratings, it would be nice to have some sort of scoring system in the magazine. The font size is OK for me. What really bothers me is that Fireworks cannot be ordered in any of the large newsagents here in Switzerland. It can be purchased in the Rocktopia Mini Shop, and that's OK. But still, I'd like to get my copy from my local newsagent, if possible. While I can order almost any UK magazine in Switzerland (even the more "obscure" ones), Fireworks is simply not listed with any of the large Swiss distributors.

OK, this may not be super-important, but I thought it's worth mentioning.
 
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#1237
Woody

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 10
At the moment Rocktopia operates as a complimentary internet wing of the magazine, It provides the magazine with a web presence aswell as an archive of the Magazine's reviews. I think if the Magazine could balance it's content between the two formats, the amount of content can be maintained and the option is there for even more as Rocktopia isn't bound to the same space constrictions of a printed publication!

Make the print larger, something i think everyone would like and reduce the content in the magazine to allow this. BUT rather than cover less, have reviews and interviews go straight to Rocktopia as web 'Exclusives'.

Review/Interview length is something for the editor's to discuss as they have to do the donkey work, which is very time consuming and obviously shorter reviews take less time to edit. I would say i like the length's of the reviews and interviews as they are know i'd hate to seem them shortened! unlike Martin i'm not fussed by longer running interviews BUT larger print would mean for interviews to be cut so therefore by default making them more direct and less conversational - i have to admit i like some of the chat style interviews though.

Although as a reader i'd hate to see the live review section disappear altogether, but i do agree sometimes it feels like your reading about gigs from a long time ago at times. I think publishing live reviews online will mean they are fresher when published, but i don't think they should be rushed a 2-3 week turn around should still make them fresh!

Going online with the live reviews also opens the gates to even more content, you look at the list of contributers and think about the amount of gigs these people go to and because their isn't the room in the mag they aren't getting covered!

I'd also like to see articles outside of interviews aswell, perhaps band history type things like you get in the Rock Candy re-issues! Maybe even a gig listing to advertise upcoming gigs!

I think most people would like a 'rating' system, but it does open up reviewers to getting slagged off for how they came up with the rating! I like Julio's idea about multiple ratings to balance out opinion, not sure how this would best be displayed and again maybe some people may not want their opinion on an album to be reduced to a single number!

Woody
 
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#1238
LeChef

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 5
Hi all,

Here's my two cents ...

1) After reading some comments (not here, you know where to look for ), I really have to ask myself if there is a ONE (just one) trustworthy forum on the web that doesn't require you to join to comment.

2) Font size seems fine to me, but I really like Woody's idea: Why not have more web-exclusives? The live reviews on Rocktopia are a joke (sorry guys ), who is really interested in concert reviews that are 3 - 6 months old? Keep things up to date on Rocktopia (latest news, concert reviews) and print CD reviews and interviews in the magazine.

3) Mr. E from Switzerland is right: The availability of the mag outside the UK is non-existent. I tried to order through Morawa in Austria and it's just not possible. I would even order two magazines and ask the newsagent to put one on the shelves just for people to see and read it (next to Classic Rock and all other British music magazines). Not even the largest newsagent in Vienna could order the mag for me, and I really think that some shop presence would be beneficial to increase your exposure.

4) Cover CD's: I really miss them, An absolute killer would be a free "Best of Firefest" DVD, featuring selected videos from previous shows.

5) Ratings: I do not really care if a review has ratings or not. But since every other magazine or website uses ratings (like Rocktopia does for the user reviews), it must be a feature that most people want and are used to. So why not try it?

Take care!
 
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#1239
Berny

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 17
LeChef wrote:

1) After reading some comments (not here, you know where to look for ), I really have to ask myself if there is a ONE (just one) trustworthy forum on the web that doesn't require you to join to comment.


This is just a small example of the 'brutal' realities we have to deal with. Again: You are talking about comments posted by people who had to REGISTER somewhere else first to be able to post comments like "I'm guessing you have to join to comment? In which case, no thanks."

Am I the only one who sees the irony here?

@ Hysteria & LeChef: Totally agree: Fireworks is not available outside the UK, I tried Morawa myself, but to no avail. I think that any major UK distributor should at least offer international orders.

Best regards,

B.
 
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#1240
PJS

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 12
I'm not really in a great position to answer the points about international distribution, as Bruce handles all contacts with our production and distribution company (Warners). But I understand from something that he mentioned recently that they are looking into this.

It is something that may come down to "economics". As the person who also looks after producing the labels for the subscribers each issue, I can say that we have many who are not UK-based. At the moment, each new issue of Fireworks is sent to subscribers in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and USA. To get even partial distribution in all those countries would require a huge uplift in the number of copies being printed, and at present I would not think it is feasible.

Best regards, Paul
 
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#1241
Berny

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Re:Fireworks Magazine: Likes and dislikes 1 Year, 8 Months ago Karma: 17
PJS wrote:
To get even partial distribution in all those countries would require a huge uplift in the number of copies being printed, and at present I would not think it is feasible.


Hi Paul,

What I (and most probably LeChef & Hysteria) meant was the possibility to order Fireworks at a local (i.e. non UK) news agent via a regional distributor. Usually, it is possible to order almost every UK based magazine here in Austria, with the exception of Fireworks.

Best regards,

B.
 
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