We were pleased a week ago today, for at least the seventh time, to bring you the latest online reiteration of pipes|drums. Since 1996, when it was the first real online publication for pipers and drummers, we’ve steadily built this labour-of-love into what it is today, and, now, just as 22 years ago, we remain independent and non-profit.
Yes, we endured and mostly ignored a bit of ridicule back then, and, really, for the first 10 years. We were accused of glomming onto “a fad” called the Internet. A few Luddites insisted that analog print was the only real thing.
Some were incredulous when we dropped print altogether. We recognized the benefits of digital: no deadlines, no word limits and, most of all, no more huge expense for printing, paper and postage. Funnily enough, one or two of our most vocal and unsavvy critics have been hard at work especially over the last five years to ape our online approach, even echoing our articles and reproducing without permission our original and copyright content.
Yes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but imitation is also the greatest form of fakery.
Never mind. Forget the fakes. Today is yet another leap ahead with an authentic new creative design, improved navigation, more features and even more value for our canny subscribers and advertisers.
We’re still asked regularly, “Is the magazine your full-time job?”
It’s not. It’s still an avocation. That labour of love. But we always consider the question a massive compliment. It suggests that the breadth, depth and quality of content is on a professional level. We’ll take it.
We recently were accused by an indignant famous piper of “Trying to act like the New York Times or Washington Post.” He took umbrage to our daring to work to ask tough questions, to seek answers, to have the audacity to strive for professionalism by behaving professionally. The person might not think that piping and drumming deserves it, but we do.
We will continue to deal with the good and the bad. We will continue to ask the tough questions on your behalf. We will continue to risk pissing off folks who simply don’t like to deal with the truth. We know that the truth is hard to get at when judges or associations might bully you in the results or make life miserable by making you park your band bus at the corner of the park, or accidentally lose your entry. We’ll take the hit, like we always have, on your behalf.
But, we will also have fun along the way. Ironically, in addition to all the tough questions and contentious issues, in all seriousness, a hallmark of this publication has always been humour. We are not afraid to laugh at ourselves and, at times, the occasional absurdity of our little world.
After all, this means big things for us. Our labour-of-love is requited every day when we see our readership analytics, when we receive a kind note from readers who say how much they enjoyed something or appreciated our work.
As we carry forward with our massive archive of work and words, we hope that you continue to enjoy the journey into new ground, always different, always original, always uncovering what might and could be, seeking to make things fresh and fair for all.
Most importantly, though, we thank you for reading.