You love music? Wait, you also say you love to write AND you possess a strong passion to help the bands you love get noticed while informing others about these great bands?! Why not take your ideas and make it into a published music magazine? Jason McMahon got involved with Substream Music Press in 2007, and is now the current owner of the publication since 2009. The 37 year old from Delaware, Ohio got involved because of his strong belief in helping emerging artists. His drive has certainly made this magazine soar within these past 4 years.
1.When you first started up Substream Music Press did you have any idea what you were doing or had any expectations? Did anyone give you any tips as to what to do?
I didn’t create Substream. My previous partner, Marc Young, is the founder and he had pitched me the idea and concept of Substream, showing me the first issue he had done on his own. It was awful but I could see its potential and understood the concept. I then invested in Substream and began consulting Marc building a marketing and business plan. Once I had that in place I then stepped in to take over the marketing and business side of the magazine. In 2009 I bought my partner out and began a new phase of Substream, which entailed a new logo, new design concept and a new staff.
I had never published a magazine but I understood business and was passionate about working with bands and in the music business. I felt if we could develop the magazine more, increase our distribution and align ourselves with larger companies that cater to our demographic, we would be successful.
2.What does running a magazine entail? Take us through a day in the life of Jason.
Putting this magazine together is very challenging. It’s something I work on 7 days a week. My day starts off with prioritizing anywhere from 30-75 emails that managed to find their way into my inbox over the night. I then begin processing the orders that came in and preparing them for shipping. Then I put on my ad sales hat trying to lock in advertising for our site and next issue. I feel like Phil Dunphy of Modern Family! It’s hard to stay focused and I wear too many hats! To sum it all up, my day consists of selling ad’s, managing content, creating partnership deals and answering emails. Fun!
3.What is the key to making everything run smoothly?
A great editor, writing team, designer and sales team. I’m 3 for 4 with sales being our biggest challenge. At the end of the day, it all boils down to money. People need paid, magazines have to print and ship while the company grows. You need to sell ad’s in order to make it work financially. Then you need to be sure you are providing great content in order to get readers excited about what you’re doing. Building trust and a relationship with our readers is key. They need to know that when they pick up a copy of Substream they will discover new music and/or read about a band that they love.
4.This magazine is not a monthly magazine. Are you planning on keeping it that way or eventually make it a bigger publication? Are there major differences in a monthly magazine and Substream?
Substream is bi-monthly and we plan on keeping it that way for a long time. The internet allows us to fill in the gaps and is just as important as the magazine itself. I like the “happy medium” approach. Print and digital combined.
5.Do you come up with the ideas for the articles that are in each issue or is it a team effort?
That’s more of a team effort. I tend to focus on the cover feature as well as a few others. However, at the end of the day it’s a group effort with my editors and writers. I’ve tried very hard to make sure we are giving our readers good content. Our writers and staff are all big fans of the magazine.
6.What is your favorite thing about this job?
I really get excited knowing that we have just helped push bands out to the music lovers. We work hard on finding new bands and it feels good to know we have just given them a chance to be heard and to be included in something special which is what I think Substream is. When I see a band on MTV, Fuse or VH-1 knowing that we covered them first feels great! We have helped launch the careers of many popular bands right now! I love it! We also try to do the same with clothing lines and other organizations. We try to keep our ear to the ground to make sure we jump on it first. That’s exciting!
7.Do you have any advice for the kids who want to be doing what you are doing?
Be passionate about it. If music and writing is something that makes you happy, go for it. If you think you’re gonna get rich and hang out with rock stars all the time, don’t bother. It’s hard work and you have to live it and love it.