September 30, 2006

pipes|drums goes live!

October 2, 2006

pipes|drums, the new fully independent website for pipers and drummers, went live after several months of development. The site is the new name of what was formerly Piper & Drummer Online, and continues with the same content and style that the previous site had offered for more than a decade.

The change of name was a relatively late development, and the decision came after concerns that there may be confusion with the name “Piper & Drummer” had the site continued under the same title.

“We wanted to make a clean break with the past,” said Andrew Berthoff, editor and publisher of pipes|drums. “As most people know, Piper & Drummer Online coexisted with the Piper & Drummer print publication, with the full blessing of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. But after I decided to devote all of my publishing efforts to the website, it made sense to develop a new name, carrying over the strong brand that had been built since 1996.”

Berthoff was editor of the Piper & Drummer print magazine for 18 years. Understanding that the future of publishing, especially for niche magazines, is not in paper, he decided in May of this year to stop putting together the print publication for the PPBSO.

pipes|drums is a combination of free and subscription-based content. Visitors can expect to receive the content that they are used to reading at no charge, while readers will need to pay a CAD$9.99 annual subscription fee to access substantial new feature articles.

New features of pipes|drums include:

  • Complete subscription service for exclusive feature articles
  • Registration system for visitors who want to contribute and post to the site
  • Registered visitors have the ability to comment on almost all material on the site, thus creating lively user threads
  • More photos and graphics in stories
  • A new Music section of the site that aggregates Dr. William Donaldson’s popular “Set Tunes Series” and the user-generated “Tunepost”
  • A special Fun section that brings readers new light-hearted features, such as “Trailing Drones,” “By The Left…” and “Bandnamer”
  • “The Style Guy” is a new feature that offers humourous advice on how to wear Highland dress and what to put on.

    As with Piper & Drummer Online, pipes|drums will continue to be not-for-profit.

    “All proceeds from advertising and subscriptions will be plowed back into the site or used for worthwhile piping and drumming causes,” Berthoff said. “We’re in this for the fun and satisfaction we gain from providing what we hope will be worthwhile, timely and honest content for pipers and drummers all over the world.”

    pipes|drums is not affiliated with any for-profit business or association, and thus is the only major piping and drumming publication that is free from other business interests.

    “We will continue to offer unbiased and objective editorial content, unencumbered by serving a shop, a school or an association,” Berthoff continued. “In essence, we’re simply putting out the kind of fair and professional publication that we ourselves would want to read.”

    pipes|drums address is, but also will continue to use the site address. Visitors will be automatically diverted to the new site.

    The PPBSO executive declined an offer of providing its members with a free subscription to pipes|drums through the end of 2006. The same offer was made for subscribers to the print publication. This was also declined. The PPBSO has intimated that it will publish a print magazine in some form in the future.


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