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The Beat Magazine Closes Down

The Beat Magazine Closes Down

The Beat Magazine Closes Down

By Karl Pearson on Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 1 comment

A sad announcement after 28 years of publication.

Last Month it was sadly announced that after 28 years The Beat Magazine, the internationally distributed publication covering reggae, African, Caribbean and world music, has closed down. A Web log has been opened so that people can say farewell to the magazine at

According to a post on that blog The Beat, then called Reggae Beat, started life as single 14" piece of paper, with one photo and four ads, before in the summer of 1983 it evolved into a full size magazine, with a color cover and from where it has progressively evolved to become one of the biggest and best known publications of its kind.

The Beat Magazine

Here is the full official announcement :


Dear readers, friends, fans, contributors, colleagues, business associates, and to all it may concern in the reggae and world music world:

It is with a heavy heart that I make the official announcement that many of you have anticipated: The Beat magazine has ceased publication. The precipitous decline in the music business, publishing business and the economy has finally caught up with us after 28 years of existence.

The Beat began as a handmade fanzine, a true labour of love, run on a shoestring and blessed by the good will and volunteer contributions by many many people over the years, among them our devoted, highly talented writers, photographers, artists and graphic designers. It was kept alive and strong by subscribers, advertisers, music fans and musicians, and a valiant network of grassroots distributors, independent record stores and bookshops, as well as our mainstream distributor RCS and our wonderful printer American Web.

The Beat was unique, and it is really a miracle it survived as long as it did. In fact, each issue was a little miracle. Within its lifespan, we went from typewriters and typesetting, rubylith color separations, xacto knives and wax to the digital age. I learned, and loved the editorial process and was always excited as the next issue's columns, reviews and features began to arrive, privileged to be the first to read the insights and opinions of our experts and basking in their company. Even though I have never personally met some of our far-flung contributors, many have become cherished, beloved friends who have taught me so much, enriching my life with humor, intelligence, and above all in sharing our common appreciation of the music.

Many people have suggested taking The Beat online to save it, but the advertising support is just not there, nor are other resources necessary to make it a successful transition. And to tell the truth, my heart is just not in it. The music, reggae in particular, has changed so much since the early days when it was new, fun, inspiring and creative, and there is so much less to say about it now.

There is one piece of news that will keep The Beat as we knew it alive for the future. An information resource company called Proquest that provides databases of periodicals to libraries and research institutions will include the entire print edition of The Beat in the International Index to Music Periodicals and Ethnic NewsWatch databases in 2010. The Beat's back issues will then be available to the public online at any library that subscribes to these services.

Meanwhile, I have opened a Web log so we can say farewell to our readers-- and they to us-- at Perhaps that will evolve into an online community of music fans, and an open forum for more people to share their passion for world music as our writers have done for the past 28 years. Also you can post comments on Myspace at and there is a discussion board on "The Beat Magazine" page on Facebook. We won't be taking any more subscriptions, obviously, but back issues will be available for a little while longer at .

To the hundreds of people who helped make The Beat the amazing preeminent international world music magazine that it was: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. There are too many to thank individually here, but I must give my deepest gratitude and love to Roger Steffens, who was the genesis of the whole thing half a lifetime ago on "The Reggae Beat" radio program, and my intrepid assistant Carol Haile Selassie, whose extraordinary, determined efforts over the last 15 years kept The Beat...and me going.

As for me, I will be putting my house/office up for sale and leaving California where I have lived for 30 years. An African proverb says "When one door close, another one go open." I'm looking forward to seeing where my next path will take me. Stay tuned, and keep checking the blog for updates.

CC Smith
Minister of Information
Editor/publisher/journalist for The Beat Magazine
Glendale CA
Dec. 20, 2009"

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Read comments (1)

Posted by D.I.A on 08.25.2010
All the best CC. Jamekee/D.I.A got it's first official press mentions in The Beat via Elana Omauno's record reviews a long minute ago. THANK U ELANA AND CC.

*************D.I.A's FANTRA ZINE************
Roots/conscious Reggae is the biggest sub-genre of reggae. Roots Reggae is bigger than dancehall period! Outside the frequency of Hot97 secular weekly dancehall program, majority of the artists who receive spins are not heard of. In rega...rds to keeping reggae pure -- one of the biggest luminary in reggae ventured outside the classic one-drop box to incorporate other sounds in his sound. That luminary is Bob Gong Marley. The Barret brothers maintained the one-drop riddim and dub bass section but the sound was colored with blues and rock riffs plus lyrics borrowed from other artists. 'Talking Blues': 'Cold ground was my bed last night, rocks was my pillow too' lyrics were borrowed from Blues great Lightnin' Hopkins 'Mojo Hand' song. Al Anderson brought the rock (roots-rock-reggae) flavor borrowing riffs from BB King, WAR, etc. Memba Gong's Punky Reggae Party. Listen!! From Catch A Fire to Pimpers Paradise Gong was taking his sound in another direction. And that is what great Artists do. They hate redundancy. Fusing reggae with other sounds only make reggae bigger. Via that artery new fans usually discover the original artists, musicians and sounds. And this even more profound in the Internet age where there are no boundaries. Preserving traditions is good. Be open minded also. Isolation hurts in many ways. Yea. Go buy a record and concert tickets even if u are on the guest list. Support the Artist... Buy a Reggae Magazine.

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