This blog is quite the fan of Companies House. Whenever anyone is boasting about their business making lots of money, a quick look on the website can often give you an idea of whether their own accounts back up their claims. And more often than not from experience, the truth is rather more sobering than anything else.
At the year ending 31st December 2019, Mixmag’s owners Wasted Talent made a loss after taxation of £4,828,988. By anyone’s measurement, that’s a pretty hefty loss. Statements by the company made afterwards – and also available for anyone to access on Companies House – reveal the company had £3million of new money put into it during March and April 2020 to help sustain the company through an uncertain period.
And in this blog post, I promised I’d have a look once 2020 accounts became available. That’s exactly what I’ve done – and I have to admit I was surprised by what I read…
During 2020, Wasted Talent made a loss of £2,480,975. At a time when the print magazine has been mothballed, numerous staff placed on furlough, and many advertising campaigns not taking place due to the pandemic, I wasn’t expecting to see a juicy profit from the company.
Yet last year, Wasted Talent actually managed to reduce their post-tax losses to almost exactly half the level it was in 2019. In other words, the company has proved itself more resilient than I expected it would be.
Will I see similar results when I head to Companies House to see the accounts for other dance music publications? Right now, only time will tell…
Puff pastry is nice. It’s a nightmare to make – so much so that many restaurants actually buy it rather than let their chefs attempt the lengthy process themselves. It’s also messy as anything, but what you can get into your mouth tastes just lovely.
Puff pieces, on the other hand, are not nice. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the equivalent of fraud – and paid puff pieces are the worst of the lot. You might have realised this when I wrote about Mixmag a few weeks ago. They were happy to take the money and not point out to their audience the festival being plugged was basically a reunion party for plague rave DJs.
And now, they’ve done it again. Peggy Gou was doing plague raves in Russia last year, amongst other destinations. And The Martinez Brothers are understood to have gigged in Bali back in January. I’m not aware of DJ Harvey being involved in any plague raves, but I see at least two more names on the lineup who have.
Yet Mixmag’s silence can be bought, it seems. The pandemic has seriously hit the finances of the dance music press – and in Mixmag’s own case, they weren’t great to start with. And if you’ve ever wondered why the dance music press wouldn’t cover plague raves properly, the evidence is there for all to see now.
Those doing and organising plague raves were the ones with money. The dance press needs money. And these shadowy operatives in charge don’t appreciate being scrutinised at the best of times…
As I said a few weeks ago, I’m very proud of what’s being created on this blog. I’m also particularly impressed with the fact that a one-man operation is basically able to outdo the dance music press – it just shows you in what a dire, moribund state the rest of them are.
Still, it’s not all bad – I note at the end of the article it states it was written by “Mixmag’s Weekend Editor”. I was surprised to discover this position has existed since at least January 2020, given the fact new content almost never appears on Mixmag’s site during the weekend. A great irony considering dance music culture is most alive on Friday and Saturday nights…
And judging by their Eric Prydz article – which offers nothing new at all to the debate – it looks like I can continue sleeping easily at night. Especially on the weekends…
So what was the most important news story of the week? Was it Nicki Minaj saying the Covid jab gave her cousin a bad case of swollen testicles? The authorities in Trinidad and Tobago went through their files and sure enough, it turned out the story was a load of balls.
Perhaps next week, we could have an article where Low Steppa takes some Mixmag journalist around the streets of Birmingham to show us his favourite drains? Maybe we can have an extended piece all about Defected boss Simon Dunmore’s favourite steak restaurants in London – we already know he likes his meat!
The following week, how about a feature where Posthuman shows us his favourite shopping trolleys and reveals what he does when he encounters one with a squeaky wheel? Or maybe we could have a read about Judge Jules and his favourite pie shop in Wigan?
The series could even go Stateside. Sterling Void could show us his favourite crack dens. DJ Sneak could tell us about how he’s fallen in love with a tree whilst over in Detroit, Terrence Parker could tell us about the time he accidentally deleted his piano preset on his computer.
Carl Cox’s favourite roadsigns is the one I’m really looking forward to, though…
It would be churlish of me not to start this Wednesday by saying I’m mightily impressed with Mixmag’s latest scoop. It’s a good one, gathered using freedom of information requests – politicians and the public sector hate them, but judges keep coming down against them- and an old-fashioned pursuit of journalism. You can read it here.
It’s impressive. They’ve discovered that the Home Secretary Priti Patel used a dodgy methodology which essentially consisted of double counting, triple counting and the rest to justify increasing police powers against illegal raves in England and Wales last year. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different arrangements due to devolution.
On August 28th last year, Priti Patel wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the Metropolitan Police had stopped around 1000 illegal raves since June. If this covered a period of 90 days, this would mean around 11 per day. And sure enough, this figure was complete nonsense.
The Metropolitan Police refuse to release the actual number – which suggests to me this is a worse scandal than they’re currently owning up to. But what remains unanswered right now is where this all started.
Did Priti Patel misinterpret the number and it gained a life of its own after she published it? Was the one thousand figure supplied by the police and in what context? Or is this a deliberate attempt by the establishment to lie in order to get what they want?
Somehow, I don’t think this one is finished just yet…
Less publicised at the time was most of their staff being made redundant after the magazine was effectively placed on hiatus. And a few of those who were kept on furlough – such as editor Duncan Dick, have now left the company altogether.
Which poses an interesting question. If Wasted Talent are serious about what used to be their flagship product, where are all the staff who they’ll need for it? Who’s going to write articles for it, who’s going to design the pages, who’s going to edit it? They can’t bring the magazine back if there’s no one there to do the job.
DJ Mag also suspended publication in March. However, they were back in business by August. Why is Mixmag taking so long to get its arse in gear over this? All recent recruitments have been in the digital division – Megan Townsend is a recent addition to the sector, for example.
A source close to several dance music press outlets tells me he’s heard nothing about the magazine for a while, but does mention the digital divisions of several magazines are currently worried about Resident Advisor’s new editor Whitney Wei, citing her successful record at previous employer Telecom Electronic Beats.
Well, I can’t for the life of me understand why. Wei has so far done next to nothing to make her mark – indeed, aside from the notable increase in stories originating from Wei’s native Berlin, anyone would be hard pressed to find a reinvigorated publication.
So, where is the magazine? Seeing that one or two current staff at Mixmag do read this blog, perhaps they could enlighten us?
Ah, Mixmag. As hard as they try to disguise it, the detectable stench of decay continues to be emitted off them unabated. They’re not even trying anymore – they seem to think that having millions of followers on social media is a licence to be lazy.
Here’s an example for you. Today, they published this article about the impending scrapping of almost all coronavirus restrictions in England. They almost sound surprised in the article to discover that many DJs and clubbers aren’t all that excited about it, having spent weeks pushing hard to see nightclubs reopen – mostly for selfish reasons.
And in a sign of just how stupid Mixmag think their average reader is, they claim that Save Our Scene UK’s temper tantrum on June 27th “pushed the government’s decision to reopen”. The most moronic statement ever published on their website? Quite possibly.
Elsewhere, DJ Ben Pearce is quoted as saying “Removing all the restrictions really just means the government can blame the public, hospitality, nightlife, sports & whoever else if the cases/deaths surge again”. Funnily enough, I published the same opinion last Friday – nice of Mixmag to catch up five days later.
How on earth is a lone blogger like me able to get in front of a supposedly well-resourced dance music publication with millions of followers? I’m going to have fun digging into this one…
Congratulations is due to Megan Townsend, who has now started work as Mixmag’s new Deputy Digital Editor. She’s previously worked for The Independent, the Evening Standard newspaper and even did a stint as an intern at ITV helping with General Election coverage in 2015.
Naturally, I wish her well in her new position. I hope that they’re paying her well – she complained in the past of having debts. Searches online reveal the average salary of a person in her position is somewhere in the range of £35,000 per year.
The only question now remains of what’s going to change with her leadership. Seb Wheeler is gone, with no word yet as to his replacement. Is Mixmag going to become an exciting, reinvigorated publication – or is it doomed to remain “tired”, as former editor Duncan Dick once called it?
It can’t possibly get any more anodyne than the digital offering already is, surely…