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fRoots needs YOU

Dear Reader…

For 36 years, fRoots has been the central resource and a key activist for the folk, roots and world music community. Founding Editor Ian Anderson explains how you can help us keep on with that role.

fRoots has been one of the main resources for the folk, roots and world music communities, for so long now that to younger people it has – literally – always been there! We know that countless readers, artists, music promoters, record labels and more have gained greatly – on all levels from pleasure to profit – from our efforts down the years. Amazingly, we're now in our 37th year of publishing, every single issue on time, and I've personally spent well over half my life editing this magazine!

fRoots has always deliberately maintained strong connections with the grass roots from which we grew, and operates outside of the mainstream music business. We’ve always been driven by the enthusiasms of our writers and readers, highlighting evolving names, often the first to write about artists and musics that readers may not be so familiar with. Down the years it has been that deliberately non-commercial, activist approach that has helped give us our incredibly loyal readership for which we are so grateful.

Along with most other magazines, times are tight. We sailed through the other economic downturns of the past three decades, but the most recent one has been more challenging. The record industry was hit badly by recession, confusion over the change to digital and widespread piracy, and the fallout hit even those of us who have deliberately stayed outside the mainstream music business. Severe government cutbacks continue to hit the UK’s live music scene, causing venue closures and a great diminishing of tour and project support. In common with most magazines, advertising was hit hard for all those reasons, falling over 30% from its pre-2008 peak.

At the same time we’ve also seen a contraction in the amount of exposure our music gets in the national media – radio, TV, mainstream publications – as their budgets get cut and less ‘risks’ get taken. Yet this is at a time when, by general agreement, we’re in something of a golden age for our music. So the role of fRoots has actually become even more vital.

Here at fRoots, we have taken many sensible steps to cut overheads including relocating out of London and decentralising our staff, but we still appreciate your support to help us keep on in this valuable role in the new realities and maintain a safety net.

  • If you are in the habit of occasionally buying fRoots in a UK shop, please subscribe directly instead. It doesn’t cost you anything extra but makes a substantially bigger margin for us: you also get the magazine up to a week earlier, you get the digital editions for free as well, and if you subscribe for two years you get a free CD too.
  • If you are an artist, a promoter, a record label person or one of the many others who have had enjoyed support from fRoots or seen benefit from our help in strengthening the infrastructure, why not reciprocate by subscribing or advertising if you don’t already do so. Think of our world as an ecosystem - we all help and depend on each other, but that's a two way thing! We also really appreciate anybody who endorses the magazine and helps publicise it or sell it. Every little thing helps.
  • And finally, everybody, please help spread the word. Why not persuade friends to subscribe, or start them off with gift subscriptions? This could be particularly effective if the recipient is in the younger generation who may not yet realise what a wealth of inspiration and resources are to be found in our pages. We do know that once hooked, people tend to stay readers forever. So for that reason we offer a big UK student discount – for people under 25 and in full time UK education.

Thanks for reading this far, and for your continued support!


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