Sign up for newsletter

Country Standard Time goes web only

Friday, March 27, 2009 – Country Standard Time is going web only, suspending publication of the 16-year-old magazine. The lack of advertising for the free magazine was cited by owner Jeffrey B. Remz as the reason for closing Country Standard Time magazine.

"I tell people that I'm in two bad businesses - music and magazines," Remz said Friday. The music industry has long been mired in declining CD sales. That also has led to sharp cutbacks industry-wise in advertising. As a free magazine, Boston-area based Country Standard Time was dependent upon advertising.

The last two years have been particularly difficult in the advertising realm, which decreased markedly, according to Remz.

He was bullish on the web site. "We have experienced tremendous growth in readership, particularly in the past two years," he said. "We worked very hard to make the web site a must read for fans from around the world."

The web site attracts about 65,000 unique visitors per month. Revenues have increased as well through advertising.

"It is obviously an incredibly difficult time out there for everybody whether musician, label or reader," said Remz. "Record labels fold, and CD sales continue tanking, but there is still a lot of tremendous music being released, and that is what moves us and always has."

"Hopefully, we can also see our way through to better monetize the web, not an easy task," said Remz. "We will need the support of our readers and the music industry. And we are considering ideas to expand the web site further."

Country Standard Time always has been an independent venture with no outside funding. Remz conceived the idea for the magazine during a period when country music was becoming increasingly popular with the first issue in July/August 1993 with McBride & The Ride on the cover. At the time, there were six magazines based in New England and one in upstate New York covering country music.

That was during the line dance craze. Once that died down, so did the magazines, leaving CST as the lone magazine standing in the region. However, the downturn in the popularity of country also led to deciding to distribute CST nation-wide. The magazine was available in live music clubs, ranging from the Station Inn in Nashville to Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, Texas, The Birchmere in Arlington, Va. and the Rodeo Bar in New York City. Record stores carrying the magazine included Ernest Tubb Record Shops in Nashville, Newbury Comics in New England and Waterloos in Austin, Texas.

The country and bluegrass music magazine field has steadily shrunken in the past few years. The only country music magazine is Country Weekly, which got rid of its approximately 330,000 subscribers last month, and is only available at retail outlets. Bluegrass Unlimited is the key player in bluegrass with Bluegrass Now having folded both in print and on line. In the roots/Americana field, No Depression closed last year and recently completely revamped its web site to forego paid writers. Harp magazine, which also covered Americana to an extent, shut down as well.

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

The Mavericks "Play the Hits" When recording its album "Play the Hits," The Mavericks approached this covers album in much the same way the band creates any of its other studio albums. "Above all, we're always trying to reach a certain musical bar that we... »»»
Larue moves "Onward" The release of "Onward," his eighth studio album, finds veteran Texas Music/Red Dirt artist Stoney Larue at a crossroads. After almost two decades on the road, playing 200 shows a year across America and abroad, he has had success... »»»
Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
9 CD review - 9
Hollywood may be pushing a broadminded agenda where there are more genders than one can even count, but in Jason Aldean's world, there are only two: tough guys, and the women that love them. There's no confusion  »»»
Ocean CD review - Ocean
Lady Antebellum may lean a little too closely to pop music for many tastes, but it's hard to argue with the trio's song choices. And its latest collection is filled with many memorable songs. The single "What If I Never Get Over You," »»»
Thinkin' Problem CD review - Thinkin' Problem
Most hard core country fans certainly have heard David Ball's 1994 "Thinkin' Problem," a true honky tonk classic. Ominvore is releasing the album in remastered expanded format with eight bonus tracks, marking its 25th anniversary. »»»
Onward CD review - Onward
Veteran Texas artist Stoney Larue has been through a lot in 20 years of touring and recording and puts that experience to good use on his first release since 2015's "Just Us." "Onward" enlists veteran Nashville producer and songwriter Gary Nicholson  »»»