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Another Rock Mag Bites The Dust: Performing Songwriter Says Goodbye

Print publications focusing on music continue to fall like pine trees in a hurricane. The latest to close its doors is 16-year-old Performing Songwriter.

Editor/publisher Lydia Hutchison announced Wednesday that the June issue would be the last.

The magazine joins No Depression, Blender and Country Standard Time, all of which ceased print operations in the face of a bad economy, shrinking record industry, and heated competition for a dwindling advertising base. Decatur, Georgia-based Paste magazine, with a subscription base of 200,000-plus, recently placed itself on the death watch, but is currently trying to survive by begging for charitable donations from its subscribers.

Below is the full statement from Performing Songwriter:
"As sad as change and letting go are, it feels like a celebration of accomplishment more than anything else," said Hutchinson. "There was a moment of clarity after we signed off on this June issue, telling me that now is indeed the time to let go and end at its peak. This publication started with no funding 16 years ago out of my guest bedroom and has never taken one penny of investment money. It's been completely supported by advertisers, subscribers and the community it represents. Performing Songwriter has always had a big heart, and our job was to take care of it so it could do its magic. By ceasing publication now, we know the magazine will never risk losing its integrity and or its quality. All of us here are grateful for this journey, and feel like we've crossed the finish line with our heads held high."

With encouragement from writers, artists and producers who valued its creativity-first focus and be-heard philosophy, Performing Songwriter established itself as the leading independent magazine connecting those who love music and those who create music. It also helped usher in the DIY movement: PS was the first magazine to recognize and support independent musicians and their work, with a call for DIY submissions running in the debut issue and DIY CD reviews in every issue thereafter.

Each issue of Performing Songwriter included exclusive interviews with top artists, producers and musicians across all genres; special reports and issue-focused stories; spotlights on the latest gear for the studio and stage; album reviews; and other features devoted to the craft of songwriting.

Hutchinson founded the magazine in Nashville in 1993, with the first of its 118 issues appearing that June. Among the cover artists were Nanci Griffith (first issue), Dan Fogelberg, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Carole King, Vince Gill, Mary J. Blige, Harry Connick, Jr., Loretta Lynn, Maroon 5, Amy Grant, Van Morrison, Don Henley, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow and John Prine.

A Note from the Editor (a popular staple of each issue) was mailed to subscribers and other supporters this week with the news of the final issue. In the column, titled "Endings, Beginnings & Gratitude," Hutchinson wrote: "One of my friends said that Performing Songwriter has never been just a magazine. It's the community that formed around it and supported it, and it just wore the clothes of a publication. The community is still there, steadfast and strong; it's simply time to change clothes. I don't know exactly what the outfit's going to look like, but that wonder is part of the joy. And I'm looking forward to dreaming up the next chapter, closing my eyes and taking another leap of faith. Because if I've learned one thing during these 16 years, it's that anything is possible."

The complete column is available on the Performing Songwriter website at

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William Michael Smith