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Goodbye Progression Magazine

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AFlowerKingCrimson View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 11 2020 at 18:56
I saw this announced on another website. While I won't post it here I will make the announcement and that is that progression magazine has officially ceased operations. You can still order back issues from the website though. The last issue was number 74(but I'm not sure when that came out). 

For John's official announcement please see the thread on the main page of the progressive ears website. Since they are another website(that could be in competition with this site for all I know)I won't post the link here.


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - August 12 2020 at 08:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 02:33
This is what John Collinge wrote on PE:

"I am writing to transparently explain the fate of Progression Magazine of which I am — was — owner/publisher. That I hadn’t fully done so before is in itself painful to me, but remains necessary for all involved. A friend called my attention to an old, lengthy thread on PE regarding Progression’s fate. I realized this was my opportunity to break from subconsciously self-imposed exile to address matters driven by a dying print industry and also of personal origin, which I’ve been reluctant to share publicly.

I started Progression in 1992 as a 12-page bimonthly newsletter, which evolved over the years into a 182-page internationally circulated quarterly magazine at its peak. It was a labor of love, mostly for the music but also for the challenge of bringing serious journalism to a deserving genre. Suffice to say this publication -- which I built from scratch “learning by doing” – consumed my life 24/7 for 26 years. Having no children, Progression was my “child.” But being a journalist foremost and businessman a far distant second, I was ill-equipped for navigating financial growing pains as advertising and circulation duties soon eclipsed editorial. I ran myself ragged wearing all three hats, could not afford to hire help but pressed on for years longer than I probably should have. Why? Simply put, celebrating progressive music’s visceral and intellectual appeal through the journalistic process fed my soul. Plus, a lot of folks liked the results.

The Internet came of age during Progression’s tenure spelling the print industry’s inexorable decline, which I resisted to the very bitter end. The first big blow was my primary newsstand distributor, Desert Moon Periodicals, going bankrupt losing me thousands. Then Tower Records folded, Progression’s biggest retail outlet. As people gravitated to online reading, magazines – especially indie publications – began to fold.

The emergence of social media and DIY websites forced me to don a fourth “hat” for online promotion and content that proved unmanageable. From the very start in ’92 through Progression’s last issue a bit over two years ago, this has been a one-man operation augmented by paid graphic artists and generous contributions from volunteer writers/reviewers. Between selling ads, managing subscriptions, writing, editing and overseeing online functions, my workload reached critical mass. Problem is, progressive music remains a tiny niche market with limited resources.

Progression’s last few years were plagued by an erratic publishing schedule. Job one for each issue cycle was first covering the printing bill (which ultimately drained my personal savings). Things stalled completely when a medical scare limited my ability to focus long hours on a computer screen as the work required. I am blind in my right eye from birth which made my left eye better than 20/20, but a condition called severe vitreous detachment clouded vision in my good eye that I still am coping with.

My hope all along has been to reinvent Progression in more manageable form, perhaps digitally, but finding a workable path forward has been elusive. Frankly, it is incredibly hard for me to abandon this “child,” this creation, with which I so closely have identified through three decades. As a result I’ve been unwittingly avoidant of hard truths and of properly apprising all subscribers/supporters where things stand. I thought this had been addressed – or at least, told myself that. Then I figured no one really cared. Then I’m alerted to a lengthy PE thread with posters calling me “scummy” and “leech,” so apparently some folks care after all.

That hurt. Eventually I came to accept that my efforts toward saving Progression at such high personal cost were counterproductive and a disservice to others. Back issues remain available in the webstore which no longer accepts subscriptions; anyone attempting to subscribe since publication ceased has been/will be refunded. I apologize to those left hanging with partially completed subscriptions, which has caused me sleepless nights. Piecemeal monetary reimbursement is not possible right now as I seek acceptable alternative solutions. One possibility might be filling the balance with available back issues, of which there remain many. Those in that position should please advise if it’s something you would consider (e-mail address below).

Along the way, of course, many things have been said. True, obligations to current subscribers in the end were not fulfilled. Other accusations are NOT true. For example, one member here publicly suggested the magazine’s website is a front to solicit promo submissions for surreptitious sale on Discogs.com. This definitely (and demonstrably) is untrue. Yes, out of financial necessity I opened a Discogs store to liquidate items from my personal music collection (CDs/DVDs/vinyl) plus items I bought wholesale, along with some promos (via multiple sources, not just Progression) dating chiefly from 1996-2011. Since 1992 most promotional discs sent to Progression for review were parsed out to reviewers. The rest including duplicates, items we had insufficient space to review and items I reviewed personally, stayed with me. At no time have promos been sought through Progression targeting re-sale, anywhere. I honestly cannot imagine how, even with all that happened, anyone could suggest such a thing.

In closing, from the bottom of my heart I wish to thank everyone who supported me and the magazine throughout our headfirst dive into the oft-bumpy, glorious unknown of independent publishing. I knew what I wanted with Progression but obviously didn’t know what to expect. One guy serving thousands of people over a quarter century wasn’t the best formula for 100-percent customer satisfaction, but I hope we at least made some of you feel better informed along the way. Thanks again.

Your friend in prog,
Scummy Leech (a/k/a John Collinge)

P.S. I recently was notified of some back-issue orders left unfilled from a webstore data recovery glitch. Anyone potentially affected by this please e-mail me directly at [email protected]. You also can message me there with other questions, comments, complaints, insults, etc. I promise to respond."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 02:34
Certainly a sad thing, although it seemed like this had died years ago. I enjoyed the issues I bought, even though I stopped subscribing at some point. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 06:57
Hi,

The "printing" designation for any magazine has been long an issue, and it has taken a sad turn in the past many years.

For years, a library, or a literary function, was very important and revered as a nice alternative to a lot of commercial endeavors claiming to be artistic, but lacking the moral substantiation of its work, which was for the most part second rate, and almost all exclusively ... "fan-based" ... meaning that only a few bands got the respect and a lot of the newer things fell by wayside ... just so those folks can specifically state that "progressive music" died ... when the FACT is that MUSIC HAS NEVER DIED anywhere, unless a head of state killed everyone ... which you can say has happened, but at the very least in our Western World, this has not been the case even when we hear of places that artists are often intimidated.

Our own family suffered a similar fate ... we had at home, almost 40K books of Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian Literature and my understanding was that some of this group of works were not even INDEX'd anywhere ... meaning no one knew them and some publishing outfit put out some hundred or more books featuring new writers ... and then one day in 1979, my dad passed away, and all of a sudden, we have a wife and the kids stuck with a library, and none of us were doing "literature", although my older sister took it up, but it was "related", not quite literally. 

Sad story was that it finally was "given" to the government in Portugal, and they setup a nice room with much of the library and other artifacts showing the life and work of one of their great writers of the 20th century ... not in the sense of a Fernando Pessoa, but in the sense of a critical scholar that spent a lot of time helping bring up these forms of literature that were basically ignored but for 3 or 4 huge names in 
World Literature.

As it turns out, it was my mom that just recently passed away (over 100 years!), that took up some critical studies and published way more since 1979, than father did in all his life. 

In the end, there was nothing for the children from it all ... other than the memories of a man that was too busy to be a father, and then a bunch of books, that by 1999 no one wanted, including the materials that were not indexed. 

We knew, then, that the world of printing was over and done. Literature was now to pass to the world of computers, and of course, so far in 20 years, the world of literature has no representatives since the world of the Internet is the world of the "people", many of which do not even know the meaning of the word, and think that the HITS of the pulp fiction that are made into movies are the ones that are GREAT, and all else is done and over with.

Sadly, the Universitarian world is no better ... there never are any "new" artists and writers in that world since their role is to teach about the past, and ignore the present ... if you are a student and write something, there is always a professor that is going to put you down and state idiocies like "why don't you use universal symbols?" ... you write for what you see ... not what someone else sees.

The same for music.

My hope is that we can weather this change and that some forms of "higher" work end up respected a lot more than being voted "best guitar" or best prog" or best pile of steaming heap ... that too many rock bands put together ... all within the same format ...  totally ignoring the history of the arts, which has been for hundreds of year ... to change the norm and the current patterns. And, of course, saying something like this even in a place like PA, gets a lot of folks upset ... because their favorite band ... tatatatata .... 

If anything, I suppose that you deserve a good rest ... from most worries ... but a place like PA, is scary to me, because its "future" lies in an area that has nothing to do with music, since a lot of its fans would rather vote for the top five, than they are interested in discussing new music. On top of it, some folks that have better abilities in here do not respect some real composers that even have an OSCAR in their closets ... because the music is boring and mehhhhh ... which ought to specify, sometimes, the quality of the music appreciation of a lot of people.

In the end, if you love music, it doesn't matter what an artist does ... you appreciate the expression no differently than when your child first said ... mama ... or papa ... however, sometimes it's hard to not think that this is exclusive to only a set of bands/folks and the rest be damned.

Music has never died ... the only thing that has died is the ears of people that don't appreciate music, in its many forms ... but will they be the holders of the flame in the future? I doubt it ... I would like to see a new flame before I pass away ... it's still a hope and the flame still is lit ... but I only see a handful of them, and (believe it or not) we enjoy spending our time talking about foreign films and the great directors the world over ... and this is what the board could do for many bands, to help further the light of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC ... and create a book that has not yet been defined.

The very best to you and family ... good luck ... you did your best!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now try finding your own mirror/art! www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 08:59
Originally posted by Man With Hat Man With Hat wrote:

Certainly a sad thing, although it seemed like this had died years ago. I enjoyed the issues I bought, even though I stopped subscribing at some point. 


Same here. I actually gave all my old back issues to someone I never even met and that was a friend of my brother's son who is apparently heavily into prog. I'm happy to pass it along to the next generation. Plus many of the bands in those magazines are long forgotten so even his peers who are into prog wouldn't know most of them.

The thing is with all the information you can find about prog online magazines like this will soon be obsolete. There's still PROG magazine(which I bought and still have issues of but not never had a subscription to) but I think even they are on the way out. 


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - August 12 2020 at 09:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 09:07
I had a subscription to Progression a number of years back.  I really enjoyed discovering new music.  I ended up switching over to Prog magazine since it was more frequent and came with a sample CD.  Unfortunately, due to COVID I have not received a new issue in at least 6 months.  They have provided me with an on-line subscription but haven't really had the time or inclination to go on-line and read it.  The magazine is kind of bathroom reading material but I do enjoy reading the articles and reviews and have discovered a lot of new music by listening to the albums that they review on Spotify.  The ones that I enjoy the most usually get purchased.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 14:05
I switched over to PROG at some point also. 

With progression I felt like this lonely prog fan back in the 90's and for some weird reason stopped subscribing to it(it was still a newsletter)at the time. I remember never receiving the first issue because I moved(the editor, John, way later told me he would send it to me but I never received it). At some point I went back to college and stopped listening to prog. I figured it wasn't cool so I would listen to alternative instead. I even gave away most if not all of my prog cds away at one point to a fellow fan(the guy I gave them to was a fan of the most well known stuff like KC, Yes, Genesis, PF but he passed away from hip cancer apparently and I never tried contacting his parents to get them back or anything like that). Then I eventually moved to the state I live in now and soon discovered prog online. I answered an ad to be a singer in a prog band(something that didn't materialize). The guitarist(he had no actual band)mentioned progression magazine to me which I was already familiar with but didn't know was still around. This was in 1999 maybe. I soon started getting it again and at some point got a subscription again. I eventually switched over to PROG magazine like I said and at some point, as I mentioned in a previous post, gave all my old progression magazines to my brother's son's friend(by dropping them off with my brother and so never met the recipient). I kind of regret it now. However, I didn't really keep most of them in very good condition so it's not like I would have gotten much money for them if I sold them on ebay or wherever. I'm just happy to pass the prog down to a younger generation. 


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - August 12 2020 at 14:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Sick Dr Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 13 2020 at 10:28
First: RIP, Progression magazine. To John Collinge (and all publishers of print, sailing their boats into an ominous tide-cum-tidal wave)....thank you. There's a word for men like you, and no, it ain't "leech"; sadly, it's "martyr".

I found a tragic common ground between your travails and Moshkito's; between you and everyone else who stood at the precipice of the computer age, foolishly convinced that this amazing new technology was here to work hand-in-glove with - to enhance - the existing technologies, like print, upon which human civilization had been built. Without ever harboring a suspicion that what had instead been loosed on the world was a kind of technological parasite, like one of those species that replaces another bird's eggs with its own.....who, upon hatching, devour their "parent". 

I'm reminded of how people welcomed Amazon 20 years ago, as the bookseller that had arrived to heroically save books and print publications from oblivion. Nowadays, hardly anyone remembers Amazon once only sold books and nothing else....and after the recent, global govt-enforced shutdown of small, owner-operated businesses, the World's Richest Man became three times richer as he replaced (wiped out) all those businesses almost overnight - like a parasite stealing eggs to replace with its own.

This is a prog site, correct? So let me close by quoting Rick Wakeman, who said awhile back - 

"It was a wonderful period, if you think about it, up until about the late ‘70s, when the musician – especially the keyboard musician – was ahead of technology. He wanted to do things that technically couldn’t be done. We dreamed of creating sounds. And we had to try and find ways of doing it, which sometimes took hours – if not days – to come close to do. And then technology slowly caught up with us, and then raced ahead of us at a rate of knots."

Unfortunately the part he left out was that now anyone with a computer and an ISP can steal the life's work of any musician with a flick of the wrist. And it's just as true of books, and journalists and archivists and even filmmakers. But what no one bothered to think about was how this cruelly-seductive convenience has sounded the death knell for new work by new artists, new writers, new creators and archivists. If Rick Wakeman were starting out today.....bah, it's too depressing to contemplate. You all know how that sentence, if completed, would end. As John Collinge and countless others can sadly tell you, the problem with standing on the right side of history is that you risk discovering the life that was worth living is all on the other side of that divide - but there's no way back.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 15:35
That's sad news indeed.  I was a subscriber between the mid 90s and the mid 00s.  I quite looked forward to and enjoyed each issue when it came out and it introduced me to a lot of prog I would otherwise never had heard.  It always had a rather unpredictable release schedule and in fact there were a few times I thought that I had either been overlooked or that Progression has ceased operations the wait was so long.  But that didn't stop my enthusiasm for the magazine, nor is that a reflection on John.  I'm sure running that magazine was a massive operation for one person.  I quit subscribing mainly because I could find all that I needed on PA starting in the mid-00s.  But John and Progression played a role in the prog revival that we still see going on today.  Sorry to see another old prog friend go bust. 


Edited by The Doctor - August 16 2020 at 15:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 23:17
Originally posted by Sick Dr Joe Sick Dr Joe wrote:

...
I found a tragic common ground between your travails and Moshkito's; between you and everyone else who stood at the precipice of the computer age, foolishly convinced that this amazing new technology was here to work hand-in-glove with - to enhance - the existing technologies, like print, upon which human civilization had been built. 
...

Hi,

Dad passed away in 1979 ... at that time, publishing was still huge ... and as I said, mom published even more than he did in his lifetime of his work!

Dad knew about the "new" everything ... he was listening (for example) to a lot of modern music Stockhausen, Tomita, Carlos, Russell and many others as well, and I think he knew that the understanding of these things changed every so often from his studies, but seeing the "internet" some 10 years before it even got around ... is another story! AND, his library, if you check it, has a lot of works and names that one will not find, as I said ... index'ed anywhere ... and that is a statement about the "NOW" (at that time) that we are missing, specially today!

PS: The one that would not take on the computer/internet was my mom ... even if I tried to get her a Portuguese keyboard and setup a computer with Windows in Portuguese ... she would not let go of her Smith-Corona! 

I would like to see more "scholarly" work done on "Progressive Music" and a bit less of the popular thing ... but so many of the folks here are here because of the popular thing ... not because the music is better ... since there are many things out there that are "better", but will never get a chance to be heard!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now try finding your own mirror/art! www.pedrosena.com
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