After Music Mag Publisher Abruptly Shutters, Crowdfunded Support for Former Staff Takes Off

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A crowdfunding appeal to raise funds for the staff of a rock music publisher that has gone into administration – similar to chapter 11 bankruptcy – leaving over 70 journalists jobless, has raised over £44,000 (£54,000).   
 
The fund was set up by Ben Ward, singer of British rock band Orange Goblin, after publisher TeamRock collapsed on Monday 19 December, making 77 staff redundant with immediate effect and reportedly zero pay. The redundancies were spread between High Blantyre in Glasgow, Scotland, where TeamRock’s head office is based, and London, where the majority of its editorial worked.  
 
Self-anointed as the "global home of rock and metal,” TeamRock’s range of music profile titles and brands includes Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, the Golden Gods Awards and the Classic Rock Awards. It also ran its own digital radio station, TeamRock Radio, which is currently off line, and the website TeamRock.com.
 
Tom MacLennan, Iain Fraser and Jason Baker of FRP Advisory LLP have been appointed joint administrators of the company, which was established in 2012 and generated annual turnover of over £6 million. Despite those revenues, TeamRock  had “traded at a loss for a significant period of time,” according to the administrators, who confirmed the 77 redundancies and said that seven staff will be retained in the short term, three in London and four in High Blantyre, to assist the administrators with magazine publishing and website maintenance.
 
“The Company explored every option to secure the long-term future of the business,” said Tom MacLennan, partner at FRP Advisory. “However the constraints on the cash position of the business were such that administration was the only viable option.”
 
According to a statement on the TeamRock website “the company is being managed on a care and maintenance basis only whist a buyer for the assets is sought.” Representatives of TeamRock failed to return requests to comment when contacted by Billboard.
 
The fundraising campaign set up by Ward to support staff affected by the closure had the initial target of £20,000 ($24,000). To date, over 2,000 people have donated to appeal, doubling its target with 28 days still to go.
 
In a statement on his JustGiving page, Ward said that he was inspired to start the campaign as the TeamRock staff are “good, hard-working, committed people that through Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog Rock, TeamRock Radio and more, have supported the rock and heavy metal scene in this country for decades.
 
“Now we, the rock community, need to pull together to help give something back,” rallied Ward. 
  
TeamRock’s collapse comes at a tough time for music publications, with many titles struggling to attract and retain an audience in the face of competition from free access digital platforms and blogs.
 
Classic Rock, Teamrock’s biggest selling titles, sold just over 50,000 copies in 2015, a 5 percent fall on the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Metal Hammer sold just over 20,000 copies in the same period, down 14.6 percent year on year.
 
Last year, influential British music magazine NME axed its £2.50 ($4.00) cover price and became a free title, given out at music stores, tube stations and retail outlets. At the time, its readership has slipped to just over 15,000 across combined print and digital editions, down from 250,000 copies during its '70s heyday. However, the switch to free boosted the magazine to its highest ever circulation with 307,000 readers in 2015.  


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