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Drowned In Sound to cease commissioning new content

By | Published on Friday 5 April 2019

The founder of Drowned In Sound, Sean Adams, has announced that the music website will stop commissioning any new reviews or features. However, the site’s popular forums will stay open and Adams will continue to recommend new music through social channels.

Posting on his personal Facebook profile, Adams said that it was with “a heavy heart” that, “like At The Drive-In’s hiatus (rather than LCD’s ‘retirement’), Drowned In Sound will not be commissioning new reviews or features for the foreseeable future”.

He went on: “We will publish some pieces and festival reviews that we’ve committed to on our Medium blog, plus I’ll continue to do some music recommendations on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m also really enjoying doing the weekly recommendations via Facebook Messenger, so I’ll continue doing that for the foreseeable future”.

Promising a full explanation of his decision to stop publishing new content in the near future, Adams then thanked everyone who has been involved with and contributed to the site over the last two decades. He added: “Special thanks to Derek Robertson, who’s kept things going in recent years, and Andrzej Łukowski, who’s not only looked after our reviews since being forced to make everyone redundant eleven years ago, but built a team of eloquent music fanatics”.

The latter remark regarding redundancies eleven years ago relates to DiS’s short-lived alliance with Sky, which also resulted in the launch of other music sites, including The Quietus, before the broadcaster bailed on the project.

It’s no secret that it’s really hard to generate income around online journalism and Adams has been very candid about that challenge over the years. To date online subscriptions have only really worked on business-orientated websites (and, slowly but surely, broadsheet newspaper websites), while ad income is generally modest, even for sites like DiS that built a substantial audience over the years, because of competition from Facebook and Google.

Some music media have found other ways to generate revenue, including events, ticketing and branded content, though building a commercial model around online music journalism remains a challenge for most publishers. Drowned In Sound has pursued various other projects over the years too, including running a label for a time, though none of those proved to be the cash cow project that most music media are always seeking.

Adams concluded: “I’m going to take make a few changes and take some time to get things stable again financially, and then attempt to do some special activity as we enter our 20th year next year. Thanks again for reading, sharing, indulging, exploring, engaging, and everything else”.