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Monday, June 15, 2009

For $25k, Music Spectator Could be Yours

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 11:19 AM

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Do you have a spare $25,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Do you want to invest in the completely obsolete highly stable world of print media? Are you totally insane?

Well, if so, Music Spectator can be all yours!

According to a misspelled Craigslist posting that was forwarded our way—"Hig [sic] profile magazine for sale - $25000 (Portland)"—the controversial, and unintentionally hilarious, print vehicle of Craig Marquardo is looking for a new owner. Perhaps he'll use that money to bring major league baseball to Portland. Let's take a peak at the Marquardo's totally-not-delusional sales pitch, shall we?

Music Spectator Magazine was founded in June of 2007 as a source for highlighting local music, using national celebrity cover interviews as the 'bait and sell'. Our covers and interviews have included Chris Isaak, Billy Bob Thornton (when touring here with his band), Daryl Hall, The Decemberists, Foo Fighters, and many more.

Ah, the old Daryl Hall "bait and sell." That's the oldest trick in the journalism playbook. Well played, sir.

Strange as it may sound, the real gem is surprisingly the calendar. We have a center spread calendar that is the most complete in the region. Publications like Willamette Week and others dont have enough space to print a full calendar, so they have serious rules and limitations.

Yeah, take that Willamette Week, you and your silly "rules and limitations." Actually, this is a terrible lie—especially when you consider how the most recent issue of Spectator came out in August of last year—but let us not rely upon petty facts. Onward!

I am a very public figure, so the magazine had to overcome that to be successful, but it worked very well.

Clearly a trailblazer (Could he be the Rosa Parks of useless music magazines?), Marquardo overcame great adversity to attain his "very public figure" position among the media elite. He has succeed very well, so suck it, haters.

This is an advertising-based free publication. While you will be able to make decent money from subscriptions, 90% of your revenue will come from advertising. Economy aside, it is a fairly easy sell since the magazine has a direct focus, is cheaper than most other advertising in town, and looks better than anything in the market.

Your cash costs will be your printing, graphic designer, delivery costs (if you dont do it yourself) and advertising sales commissions. This can range anywhere from $5k a month to $10k a month depending on how many copies you print. At my peak, I was selling $20k a month, but it was mostly me doing the selling, so my potential was capped.

Subscriptions to a totally free publication equal 10% of the revenue? Sure, why not? Also, the last (final?) issue only had seven ads (some of which appeared to be trade) in it. Not sure how that equals $20,000, but again, let us not be hindered by useless numbers.

This spring I started to put together a plan to expand the magazine to multiple cities. Basically a franchise situation. A 'publisher' in the other city would do his own local sales, and local content. We would provide the website, cover stories, concert tickets, and national sales.

I have been in contact with interested parties in Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and others. The goal was to be in ten cities, allowing us to go after significant national sales. This would make it possible for the national sales to possible fund all or most of the 'nut' for each publication...and fully funding ours.

Wow, with a fully funded "nut" (ewwwww) and massive expansion on the horizon, Marquardo would be crazy to walk away from this goldmine at a time like this. I wonder why he's selling?

The reason I am selling is that I am going to be splitting my time between Portland and LA to run a new feature film company (my other industry). That, and it will allow to me to pursue some other related ventures. I am working on buying a radio station that plays only local music. It would allow me to tie in the magazine, radio station and the PMA's, all benefitting each other.

Oh, that's why. Feeding $25,000 into a woodchipper would probably be a more sound investment strategy, but if you did that, you'd never get your photo taken with Smashmouth.

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