My In-depth interview with Randy Lockhart, owner of the Magazines on October 30 2017
1. What led you to want to get into the magazine business? And how long has the magazine been in business?
Funny you should ask that Jennifer. I started my Web Hosting business back in 1992 over 25 years ago. I was always so involved with my clients in one way or the other, mostly with them asking how they should promote their websites and get indexed in the search engines. My answer at the time was to get their websites listed on a many website sharing sites they could find that would allow back linking or reciprocating links.
This went great for many clients for many years and one day I just happened to see a magazine designed to showcase businesses and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to get my own magazine online to showcase all my clients’ websites and drive traffic to them.
So in 2003 I started my very first magazine which was not so successful because of the costs involved and no one to help support it. Needless to say I dropped the magazine after a few years and just went back to promoting my clients by which ever means I could come up with. Then in 2008 I decided to have another go at the magazine so I started the webhostmagazinecanada.com magazine which initially was designed to just showcase the clients’ websites. As time went on the magazine grew and grew and at some point I had several Music related clients in there.
The magazine to date has over 75,000 article views since its inception. It was a short time later I started getting more and more Indie Artists wanting to have their music sites hosted by me so they could be in the magazine and it got to the point where I had more music related sites than I did business sites in the magazine.
I felt that this magazine was going to be very popular but it wasn’t exactly named properly to attract Indie Artists so again I started the new magazine indiemusicmagazine.live in 2016 to start featuring Artists in. It didn’t take long before the magazine started getting very popular with a total of 17,984 article views to date. Ok now I know I’m onto something and wanted to expand even further so I introduced the indieartistsmagazine.com to the ever growing coalition of magazines.
The Indie Artist Magazine had a slow start because I was having a number of health issues and not spending any time promoting it until just a few months ago and the magazine to date has 6,997 article views which grows by 200 to 300 article views a day now and will continue to grow as we add more featured artists. **UPDATE** Since this interview the stats have grown from 6,997 to 14,876 total views to date
2. How many people do the magazines reach on a monthly basis? How many do you hope to reach within the next year?
Well Jennifer if we can look back at the first question I think I have covered what the stats are to date with the exception of the older magazines which get on average up to 700 views per day. As for what to expect over the next year? Well with my expertise in marketing and promotion plus the support of my team Sheri Lynn and yourself doing Market research and Promotions I expect all magazines will reach an all time high for article views because we are constantly adding new artists every day, and every artist that shares their article to their fans/followers and so on and so on will only drive more traffic to the magazines.
3. What are the three key elements of having a successful magazine?
Key elements.. I believe that quality content, constantly adding new Artists and Sharing the Articles via social sharing are the main keys to the magazines success.
4. Why did you decide to write about Indie Artists?
As stated earlier, the ever growing amount of music related clients I was getting to host websites for and having to write the articles for the magazines for them became a huge part of my life and I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from it. I lived it, I dreamed it and I wrote about it every day. I was so intrigued with every Artist, learning about them and getting to listen to their music, it became an everyday outlet for me to relax.
5. These days it seems like electronics is the way to go for many publishers. Do you think it is necessary to have both print & electronic & why do you feel that way?
As we all know magazines are a precious commodity that only a few can afford, not to mention the owners having to keep up with printing and shipping costs. Thus I would love to have people buy a subscription to the magazines but it seems people would rather just read it online or print it out on their home printers. I have tried getting people to buy a subscription but to no avail, however that does not mean that there isn’t a printer company out there somewhere that would jump at the opportunity to print the magazines. The PDF magazine I create each month can be downloaded and taken directly to a local printer and they will print it out. It has full color, bleed marks and crop marks so that the magazine prints at 8.5 x 11 Resolution of 300 DPI and is a Print Friendly PDF
6. What types of audiences are you seeking to reach & why?
First and foremost, I am looking for Indie Artists to Feature, secondly I am looking to reach all the Fans/Followers of each Artist which leads to all their contacts who will at some point want to read the article written for each artist. I am also looking to reach Artists that are struggling with what to do next. Not knowing who to talk to, or where to submit music to can ultimately cause an artist to just give up and stay behind the scenes so to speak. They need to know there are quite a large number of places to get noticed and have their music played online over Radio etc. 25 years online I have a readership of over 1 million people and the very second I hit the publish button the article reaches a great majority of those people.
7. What are the keys to growing an audience & retaining that audience.
I believe the key to growing an audience is to provide people with exactly what they are searching for. In this case it is music and the Artists behind that music. Aside from the Artists wanting to share their music, there are millions of listeners out there that love music so it is my hope that through the magazines and the Marketing skills my team has, we will reach all those people.
8. Traditionally, magazines have needed great solid advertisers to make a go of it. Do you think that is the same today or do you think there are new models for sustained success?
I am not ashamed to say that my first magazine failed miserably because of the costs associated with it and I had no one to help me financially which led to me shutting it down. I have learned over the years that I didn’t need supporters to help with the magazines because I have my own hosting servers, I have my own Domain registrar to register the domains I want as well for other people. If I look to business to help support the magazines it is because of the ever growing products or services we are providing in the magazines that’s costing a lot more money such as the new Annual Awards, the new Business Directory, and soon to come a Website setup to allow Artists to hire themselves out and to create performance dates etc. There is also the promotion of Artists that we have implemented by purchasing Artists music for a set amount and having the Artists give their music away via a contest or promotion of sorts. Hopefully in the New Year we will have merchandise for sale as well. I have no idea how other Social outlets work within their companies but rest assured, when I make statements that I support the Artists in the magazines, I really do put my money where my mouth is.
9. Every organization needs excellent leadership to succeed. What are your key leadership principles which you live by? And how do those principles help Indie Artists Magazines?
Well someone has to be the Boss. Leadership comes from years of experience in marketing and that can be passed onto staff with a solid set of rules to follow so as to not get the company in trouble. As with my Web Hosting business of over 25 years and having over 8 paid staff members providing tech support to all the clients they had to follow one simple rule. Represent my company like they owned it and always be polite, courteous and leave the customer with the knowledge that they have done their job in a professional manner. I think this same principle applies to the Magazines because my staff are representing the magazines in a way that people want to be featured in them. Generally it is my rule that all Artists are giving us permission to use their Bio’s and photos with credit going to photographers and if their Bio was written by someone other than themselves we also want to credit those people when given the chance. Our reviews will always be on point and accurate.
10. When you do an article on an Indie Artist, what do you see in them that attracts you to write about them? And what results do you like to see from the Indie Artists upon completion of their article?
This is a tough question to answer because all artists have their own artistic values. Well let me see, when I come across an artist, I look at the way they portray themselves, I look at how well they are accepted in the music industry and community, and most certainly how long they have been singing or songwriting. If the Artist has a large following of Fans/Followers then I know I’m going to have a great article for the Artist in question. Once I have done the article for an artist, it does not end there, I will continuously keep sharing their articles and try my best to keep up with updating their articles. I could only hope that each artist would share their articles more than just the one time that it is published because they don’t realise that with the magazines and new artists added every day, we and themselves also have an ever growing fan base and those people have no idea the artist even has an article, so sharing every day or every week or even once a month via social media will keep the article alive. Even adding the article to their own websites in the About or news pages so people can see and read about it. I know quite a few Artists already do that and I thank them for that.
11. You have been around music for years. What do you see is a key success factor for artists?
Like any business an Artist has to sell themselves. They have to keep their music alive by submitting it to every Radio Station, every media outlet that sells music, grow large fan bases who will share their music and do not be afraid to work with other musicians and share their music. Word of mouth is what grew my Web Hosting business from only a few hundred clients at the start to over 9,000 in 25 years. Don’t stick with just singing cover songs. They should start to write their own songs if they have the capability to do so, find people they can have mentor them, and always keep their music and vocals honed for a peak performance.
12. What role do you see your magazines playing in that success?
The magazines feature so many great Artists with different levels of expertise and I am sure a lot of upcoming Artists can learn from them as well. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook and get to know them and learn from their experience.
13. Many rising stars seem to get stuck somewhere along the way & either not move forward quickly or not move forward at all. What do you see as the key pitfalls for young artists to avoid & why?
I cannot honestly answer this because I do not have a personal relationship with any 1 Artist, so I do not know what motivates them, what makes them mad, what their learning skills are, or where they see themselves years down the road. All I can suggest is to seek out the help they need to move on whether it be from a paid music teacher or mentor.
14. You have been very successful over the years. As you look back, what are the key principles you have lived by that have been the biggest keys to your success?
Every Business has, or is going to be facing obstacles during their growth. For me I found that having alliances to look to when needed for business arrangements plays a key part in running a business. In the Web Hosting Business I had the ever growing amount of other Web Hosting companies to compete with for clients, but I remained steadfast in my commitment to providing quality services, support and affordability and I prospered from my achievements. The same analogy will move my magazines forward into the future.
15. Tell us about your staff & what they do to help make the magazine a success?
My team are a godsend. You and Sheri Lynn not only do the marketing to find new and upcoming artists, but also spend countless hours researching music and other resources to provide to the artists in the hopes it will help them move forward with their careers. Social sharing of articles is a big part of everyone’s daily routine in the magazines. Promoting Artists by means of contests or other avenues. We all have our own abilities in what we can do for artists and for that I have 2 of the most respected and business minded women I could ever want on my team.
17. What is a typical day like for you? I read that you have had your share of health problems , how do you deal with that and the magazines?
Wow, what can I say, I have a very busy schedule everyday writing and posting articles which can take up to 3 or 4 hours per article depending on the content and photos whether or not I have to resize them or not, and researching the Artist to find out more about them. Multitasking takes on a whole new meaning with me.
I work on the magazines while, going back and forth on social media talking with people, look for different ways to promote artists plus so much more goes into my days which by the way are upwards of 16 to 18 or more hours every single day. How does this play a role in my health?
Well to think it is doing me any good is an understatement, but you did say you read about my health problems which consists of 7 heart attacks since 2003 until now, and most recently this past January I had my left leg amputated due to an aneurysm behind my left knee and the doctor just wanted to do a bi-pass on the artery that was clotted but I told him I have had enough to deal with over the years with my heart and told him to just cut the leg off above the knee and let’s move on.
Although I have been through so much over the past years, I do not let it bother me in the least, I don’t dwell on what was but rather look for better ways to improve my lifestyle and to move forward and I find solitude in my magazines on a daily level because this is what I love doing.
Just because I have one leg it doesn’t make me any less of a person, it just means I don’t get around as good as I used to.
18. In closing, do you have any advice for the young Indie Artists just starting out in the music business?
Advice for young artists huh?? Well all I can say is live and learn and always keep moving forward.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you Mr. Lockhart, I am sure a good majority of people who you feature in the magazines will get to learn more about yourself now through this interview.