Sometimes a birthday goes rather unnoticed. Take ours for example. Yesterday, 25 September 2017, Merchants Of Air turned three years old and how did we celebrate? We didn't. Why not? Well, it just didn't cross our mind I guess.
We published our first article back in 2014. It was a long review about that year's Incubate festival. Since then, a massive amount of reviews and articles have been published on these pages. I have absolutely no idea how many exactly but there are a lot of them.
But, throughout these three years, other things happened too...
Writers writing writers about writers writing.
But everything goes with ups and downs and perhaps our third year was a decent example of that. Our growth has not been as exponential as our second year in business, although we more than doubled our visitor count since the first year. I can only imagine one reason for that: lesser articles. I think we wrote less reviews than in 2016. Other projects and personal issues have been keeping all of us occupied more than Merchants Of Air has. Some of our writers needed a long break and at the same time very few new aspirant writers contacted us.
We had a few. Two women ask for guest writer spots but they wanted to add links to certain shopping websites. I told them that we are a music webzine and that they will have to prove themselves with reviews first, just like I did, just like Wagner did. I never heard from them again. In fact, only one serious applicant contacted us. I hope his first reviews will enter my inbox soon. Until then, I'll keep his identity a secret.
Our core crew has been less active too, and quite frankly, I don't mind. Some of them have send me heaps of apologizes for not sending in reviews or articles, but, guys, stop apologizing, Merchants Of Air is a hobby. You're not being paid so you're not going to be pushed. It's as simple as that. I'll see the articles come in when they do.
Besides, I have been less active too. I have spent months and months writing my first novel, 'Cecilia's World'. For this novel, everything had been pushed aside. My ambient project Misantronics has been releasing less material. I didn't see my family as often as the years before. I didn't see as many gigs as the years before. But now it's ready and I'm very proud of the book. (click on the picture for more info and to pre-order).
I think over these three years, Merchants Of Air has become a lot more than a music webzine. It has become a gathering of fun stuff to read and to discover which is not restricted to music. Wagner's science and history articles on A Small Neat Journal are amazing and he often comes up with surprising ideas.
Year three, the compilation?
So yes, there are still plenty of spots open. Bands and projects who want to join our compilation can still contact us. We're also planning another project to be finalized by then. So December might be a huge month for Merchants Of Air.
Growing up in a world led by children
I know, that world would have been very much alive without Merchants Of Air too but I'm quite proud of what we have accomplished over the past three years. I have said it before and I will say it again, I have never felt so appreciated and respected while doing some kind of work for somebody. Not one of my previous employers has sent me so much "thank you" and "great work" compliments than all of you have been doing. To be brutally honest, this level of appreciation is one of the few things that keep me going.
Perhaps over these past three years, Merchants Of Air has finally grown up. Our website witnessed only slight changes in lay-out. Our promo pictures for the t-shirts we design have been left behind and currently we're only promoting 'Cecilia's World'. With that, I clearly noticed a decline in income too, to the point where year four will once again be paid out of my own pocket. It's too bad, but I'm not going to change things now. I hate begging for money but if you want to support us, we will appreciate it.
How to support Merchants Of Air? There are plenty of possibilities. There is our shop with awesome shirts, metal decks, stickers and so on. There are the occasional Amazon links on our reviews which provide us with a little percentage, even if you buy something completely different. We have a few free/pay-what-you-want compilations and of course, there is my book. I think out of all these possibilities, purchasing 'Cecilia's World' will be the most appreciated by me. Like I said, I'm a writer...
Well, I think I reached the end of this birthday article. Perhaps at this time, it's a good idea to look into the future. What will year four, five and six be like? Will there even be a five and a six? I don't know. I'm afraid that depends on things I have little to no control over. However, what I can say, is that whenever there is a possibility to continue Merchants Of Air, Merchants Of Air will exist. Maybe year four will either half or double the number of articles. Maybe new writers will join.
Whatever the future holds, I have reached my goal. In a few days, I'll be at the printers and shortly after that, copies of this book will be shipped to Australia, Germany, India, Belgium, USA and many more. But before that happens, I will probably have published another heap of reviews, brieviews and columns. This is what I love doing, and I want to thank all of you for making it possible and for appreciating the words/worlds pouring out of my brain.
Thank you for three years of Merchants Of Air.