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Black Sky Thinking

We Are 12! Celebrate By Becoming A Subscriber & Get Loads Of Perks
The Quietus , September 1st, 2020 08:02

As tQ turns 12 we're launching a new subscriber system - read on to find out how you can help keep the site alive while also getting access to exclusive music, podcasts and editorial

Inflate the balloons and hand out cake on paper plates... we’re turning 12 years old today! If you had asked us a few months ago we would have told you that we weren't looking forward to this date. To be blunt, most of our birthdays have been overshadowed by the question: "How the Hell are we going to keep this magazine afloat for another year?" The past year however has been the most difficult in the history of the site. The magazine and website advertising system - which was already in dire shape - has been shoved into outright catastrophic collapse by the Covid 19 pandemic. The impact of this has been felt right across the ecosystem that the Quietus is part of, resulting in the presses being turned off on many brilliant and widely-read print magazines including Kerrang!, Q, Mixmag, Long Live Vinyl and Louder Than War, not to mention a huge scaling back in operations by such digital titles as Red Bull Media and FACT. There’s every chance the Quietus would have folded too were it not for an Arts Council England grant which has seen us through the past few tough months.

Despite the grinding awfulness of the year so far, however, we're actually starting to feel cautiously optimistic about the future. We’ve spent the summer working round the clock to use this modest but bacon-saving award to come up with the biggest development in the history of the site. Today is the launch of our subscription service - the success of which will allow us to be one of the few large independent online music magazines left in the world who carry on into 2021 and beyond. Our vision to bring you the best writing, the most exciting new culture and the most challenging opinion has long been helped by incredibly generous donations from many of you via our PayPal button. We thought it was about time that we gave you something in return!

And damn, it really is something... We’ve teamed up with the good folk at Steady and state51 to develop a new multi-tier membership system with all sorts of reader perks.

The music we’re giving away comes in the form of carefully curated playlists featuring the best new tunes from the artists we’re covering on the site, to exclusive downloadable EPs and albums commissioned by us and recorded by brilliant artists who have never worked together before. We’ve already commissioned enough of these albums and EPs to cover the first year of subscriptions and we have many more in the pipeline. Coming we have a meeting of sonic titans so epic we fear it may knock the moon itself into a decaying orbit - deep space exploratory unit GNOD working with the godfather of industrial and shoegaze metal, Justin K Broadrick of Godflesh and Jesu in his JK Flesh guise. Then, at the other end of the sonic spectrum, we have the first time collaboration of two towering poetic souls, Roger Robinson of King Midas Sound (winner of the 2019 TS Eliot prize for poetry) working with the acclaimed, visionary writer and musician, Richard Skelton. We’re also pleased to be able to announce the release of a brand new EP by Välve featuring Chlöe Herington (Chrome Hoof, Knifeworld). We’re grateful to state51 for providing generous artist bursaries to fund the creation of this work. By subscribing you are helping both tQ and some of the most exciting underground artists in the UK right now.

Subscribers will also get bonus long read features penned by special guest writers such as Adelle Stripe on why we need Julian Cope’s The Modern Antiquarian now more than ever; Darran Anderson on the occulted history of kids TV show Knightmare; Megan Nolan on the unadulterated joy of loving Billy Joel; Joy White on grime as a contemporary Black British genre; Daniel Dylan Wray on John Cale and Oobah Butler on the anarchic artist Christian Jankowski. Plus John and Luke are clambering into a clapped out old motor to drive round the UK to interview a wealth of guests such as legendary folk singer Shirley Collins, Repeater Books supremo Tariq Goddard and writer John Higgs about the culture that has shaped them for a brand new series of podcasts exclusively for subscribers - get the first episode as soon as you sign up today.

Anyway, happy birthday to us but more importantly thanks to you for helping us to get this far; we hope you’re as excited by this new development in the site as we are. Keep on reading on to find out exactly what you get when you become a subscriber.

John Doran and Luke Turner, September 2020

First tier:
Cover Price
Lots of us used to spend a few quid a month on our favourite music magazines and the first tier of tQ’s new subs system is our version of this. The Cover Price is a continuation of what we’ve been doing via PayPal for a couple of years now - our glorious readers kindly donate some of their hard-earned to enable us to carry on. There are no perks bar the palpable joy that you’ll feel in continuing to support the best writing there is on music and culture.
Middle tier:
Low Culture
Subscribers to the next tier up not only feel the warm glow associated with the knowledge that they’re securing our future, but also get a regular Apple or Spotify playlist of music from the artists we've been covering on the site. Plus, there's access to additional, high-quality content every fortnight: the Low Culture Essay and Low Culture Podcast. The essay is a specially commissioned long-form article on a cultural artefact such as an album, book or film, casting it in an utterly new light. Essays already commissioned include Adelle Stripe on why we need Julian Cope’s The Modern Antiquarian now more than ever; Darran Anderson on the occulted history of kids TV show Knightmare; Megan Nolan on the unadulterated joy of loving Billy Joel; Joy White on grime as a contemporary Black British genre and Oobah Butler on the anarchic artist Christian Jankowski. And then, two weeks later, subscribers will also receive an exclusive download of a new Low Culture Podcast, featuring tQ co-founders John Doran and Luke Turner sharing new treasures they’ve uncovered and talking to guests, such as Tariq Goddard of Repeater Books and folk singer Shirley Collins about the culture that has shaped their lives.
Top tier:
Sound & Vision
Sound & Vision members bathe in the unparalleled joy of contributing to the survival of tQ and get a dizzying array of additional perks. As well as the Low Culture content and monthly playlist of music related to the editorial on the site, you receive four exclusive tQ-commissioned music releases per year. The Solstice Sessions (Dec, June) and Equinox Sessions (Mar, Sept), are either collaborations between two artists who have never worked together before, or new music from one of our favourites. All participating artists will be paid as part of a partnership with state51. Each of of these recordings will be completely exclusive to Sound & Vision subscribers for the quarter of a year after we send subscribers their downloads. When the three months is up, there'll be something new to download. As mentioned above, we've already commissioned releases by Gnod and JK Flesh, Roger Robinson and Richard Skelton, Nik Void and Alexander Tucker, and Chloe Herrington's Välve.

...and finally, here's a message from your Quietus editors from our emergency HQ in the 6000-year-old West Kennet Long Barrow, Wiltshire