Saturday, 31 March 2012
It’s thirty years since we launched Chartwatch as a photocopied magazine compiled from type-written snippets in 1981. Our first edition contained a 1980 annual analysis, was advertised in Record Mirror, and was mailed out from Berlin where John and Neil met and were working. After thirty years, Chartwatch is launching the biggest change to affect it so far.
Even regular readers may not be aware of the huge decline in sales since Chartwatch’s heyday in 1991; where once we had over 200 subscribers, we now have fewer than 50. We partly blame the demise of Record Mirror and the increasing cost of advertising in Record Collector, leaving us no place to advertise effectively. In recent years as Internet forums have abounded our format has started to look old hat, and we are clearly behind the times.
We’ve resisted turning Chartwatch into an Internet magazine for several years, because we know many of our loyal readers are not necessarily proficient in the use of computers, but making that change is now inevitable.
As a compromise, we will be continuing to publish a printed version of the magazine for the time being but the emphasis will now increasingly shift towards our website. Initially, we will continue to make a magazine and simply post the PDF version online. But if the internet version is a hit, then we may very well rethink the whole design and concept of the magazine. Wouldn’t it be great to get comprehensive listings of chart feats as they happen? As a taste of the immediacy that the modern day web can provide, we have launched a Twitter feed at @chartwatchmaguk. We’re starting to use this to tweet interesting up-to-the-minute news as well as news about Chartwatch itself.
Chartwatch magazines will now be posted on our website (www.chartwatch.co.uk) as PDFs and this issue will be the first to be available online and in printed form. The online version will be freely accessible, so if you would prefer to cancel your subscription and get a refund, or replace it with an order for back numbers or annual chart booklets (which we would prefer), then we fully understand - write to us and let us know. As subscriptions run out, we will cease to send out renewal forms. You will be able to renew your subscription should you want to, but you will have either to write to us or renew through our PayPal account.
This change will also affect back numbers. With immediate effect, back numbers will be posted on our website as soon as the stock is exhausted. Normally, Neil keeps a stock of up to five copies and photocopies more as they are required, but that will now stop, and his wife will be very pleased to recover a significant amount of floor space in her spare bedroom. So if you want to order printed versions of back numbers, now is the time!
We will not be posting the annual chart summary booklets on the Chartwatch webpage. The author of the booklets from 1995 onwards, Tobias Zywietz, maintains his own web site (http://www.zobbel.de/) where most of his booklets are available to download as PDFs. Printed versions of all booklets from 1983 onwards will still be available from Chartwatch.