Crossfader Is Dead, Long Live Merry-Go-Round Magazine!
Well . . . here we are. Each birthday for Crossfader has carried its own sense of accomplishment, but this time around it’s tinged with a hint of the bittersweet. If you haven’t heard by now, this will be the final time you hear from Crossfader Magazine in this specific incarnation. A long, arduous, and expensive process is finally reaching its final stages: rebranding and relaunching as Merry-Go-Round Magazine. Informed by a lawyer that rap-focused music mag The Fader would have grounds to sue if ever our paths crossed, we took over the name generously donated by our music editor from his personal blog. This process started in March and still isn’t quite done, so we thought it prudent if we took the next month-and-change off to redouble our efforts on putting the final pieces in place. But as of tomorrow, Crossfader Magazine will be no more.
On August 18th, 2015, I sat in the cafeteria at my internship before the work day started, furiously plugging a whopping seven articles into WordPress for the big launch of Crossfader Magazine. Looking back on it now, it feels like a scene out of an entirely different life. I still had a whole year of college left. Graduation and the job market still felt like a challenge on the distant horizon. I was probably 20 pounds lighter and thought I was making professional strides to land a full-time dream job right out of college (ha!). But most importantly, I was excited about something. There was no outlet for those interested in specifically and regularly writing about media at my school, so I was going to create one. My friends and I regularly got into hour-long screaming matches about what we liked and didn’t like about the movie we just walked out of, shows we just wrapped up, or album we just heard, so why not try to capture that loud, pedantic lightning, put it on the page, and hopefully engage others in doing the same?
Three years later and at the end of an era, I can say I’m proud of Crossfader and what it’s accomplished. We’ve given a lot of people an organized(ish) and professional(ish) platform by which to present their writing, one that did not exist among my peers at the scale it ended up reaching before I had a crazy idea one night when drunk at a party in July of 2015. Over 100 writers have appeared on Crossfader in one form or another, and we published 2,171 posts in our time as a site. Many of our writers have gotten further writing gigs, internships, and even jobs where Crossfader was a key facet of their resume, and many of those still around will agree they’ve improved as writers and thinkers over the course of their time writing for us. We started out with the bold idea that our opinions were just as valuable as anyone else writing about the media we invested so much of our emotional energy into, and while that has undoubtedly led to a few regrettable takes, it has led to many more that truly wouldn’t appear on any other publication (in a good way!). We maintained an internship program at the editing staff’s alma mater for three semesters. We started a podcast. We got invited to cover Sundance 2018, in addition to various other film festivals and video game conventions. We’ve interviewed fairly major bands, record labels, and filmmakers. I think all of that can’t really be described in any better way than “pretty fucking cool.”
So, what do I want to accomplish with Merry-Go-Round Magazine? Simply put: I would like to pay those who work and write for the magazine. Since day one, some have pointed out it’s a little weird that we didn’t have a guiding mission or vision statement. Yes, I guess that is a little weird, but at this point we’re so vast in terms of the individual drives and motivations of our writers that I think determining a solidified focus would be a Herculean task. As such, all I really want to be able to say is that I can pay my friends and peers for the opinions and writing I still find more exciting and valuable than most of what’s out there. I guess this is a good time to announce that I have decided unless I am legally required to based on our Operating Agreement (which might actually be the case), that I will be foregoing making any money off of Merry-Go-Round Magazine if and when the time comes that we break even to further the intention to compensate people for their time as soon as possible. When this started, I worked hard on this publication for me, but now I want to work hard on this publication for everyone else.
And hopefully, with money on the table, we can cultivate an increased effort to include diverse voices and viewpoints. I think in the recent months we’ve made improvements in this regard, but we could always be doing better, and I hope we continue to do so. In addition, I aim to move us ever further into bona fide workplace professionalism in terms of internal structure, the actual articles themselves, and overall how we as Merry-Go-Round present ourselves to the world. We should tighten up how we determine who gets to review what across the board. We should probably move away from a traditional recommend-do not recommend system into something more holistic and considerate. Hopefully the relaunch of Merry-Go-Round will finally, finally convince passersby that we’re not a blog. (Can you believe I still get this from time to time in this year our lord 2018?). All in all, I want Merry-Go-Round to eventually develop into a company, and one that can be a fundamentally good one in these deeply dark times. I think that’s a noble enough goal to rally around.
This publication has meant a lot to me, and I have grown a lot as a person and writer over the course of my time with it. I have learned to come to things with a more open mind. I have learned to try to avoid specifically going after the creators of things I don’t like, even more so avoiding going after the fanbase of things I don’t like. I have learned sometimes in the grand scheme of things that “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is pretty solid advice. I have learned it is more fun to like things than to find the few people that share a distaste. I have learned that I have a weird affinity for the pop queens of the early 2000s. I have learned that maybe, just maybe I like romantic comedies more than horror films. I have realized that being a gatekeeper of any sort is a position with a lot of weight, and I can hopefully learn soon how to make sure we’re all doing the most to be ethical and upstanding ones.
So, thank you. Thank you to all of those who read this scrappy little upstart over the years. Thank you to those who shared an article you found interesting. Thank you to those who messaged me saying they were really impressed with Crossfader and liked something we wrote. Thank you to everyone who has worked so tirelessly to write articles for free for us over the years. Thank you to all those who have disagreed with us and made sure to let us know. Thank you to the editing staff, who work just as hard, and probably occasionally harder, than I do to make sure we’re growing and progressing by the day. Not to mention being crazy enough to take the leap with me into making this something more. And, most importantly of all, and this is where I’m tearing up a bit, thank you to my best friends, who have given me some of the only memories the broken shards of my brain will regurgitate during my death throes. It only happened once, but one indiscriminate Thursday during senior year everyone came to my apartment and just simply worked on Crossfader, drinking and talking all the while into the wee hours of the morning. That’s always going to be a favorite memory of mine. I love you all. I’m crying now. RIP Crossfader. We’ll talk again soon.