The ever-in-flux music industry, combined with the recession, has claimed its latest victim: the resolutely independent and outspoken music magazine Plan B. Taking a tone somewhere between classic music journalism, an indie blog and a fierce debate between hipsters, it has sent me running to my laptop in search of a new band’s output one minute, before causing bouts of swearing the next, when an article has seemed to focus more on the writer than the subject, or when my new favourite album has been brutally ripped to shreds.
It has incensed, encouraged and challenged for five years, but it’s provocative nature has always come out of a passion for independent music and culture that was championed in the articles, as well as in the illustrations and design of the magazine itself. It celebrated the physicality of the format, which when done right, can be a more satisfying experience than online media.
As Louis Pattison and Frances Morgan mention in the final issue, they aimed to show that “music criticism has many voices, not all of them white, male and schooled in indie lore. That it is possible to document those musical communities – Nottingham hip-hop; Baltimore DIY – which thrive away from the mainstream media spotlight.”
There now seems a gaping hole in the offline UK music press, somewhere between the dry reviews and overlong articles of heritage publications like Uncut and the seriousness and focus on obscurity of Wire, which usually leaves me baffled. Plan B, we’ll miss you.