15, December 2008
Not So Modern Drummer magazine has been sold by Bill Ludwig III to George Lawrence, drummer for Poco, and owner-operator of two other drumming businesses, George's Drum Shop Inc. and Famous Drums LLC. The twenty year old publication, the "World's first vintage and custom drum magazine", will undergo improvements, updating and increased circulation under Lawrence's new marketing strategy.
Bill Ludwig, grandson of William F Ludwig Sr. who started Ludwig Drums in 1909, had been publisher of the magazine since 2005 when he acquired it from John Aldridge, the originator of the magazine. Aldridge remained as editor during Ludwig's ownership and will continue to serve as editor and writer for Lawrence. Ludwig will be on the advisory board and represent the magazine at vintage drum shows. Ludwig and Lawrence have known each other since the eighties when Ludwig ran the artist relations department for Ludwig Drums.
George Lawrence's strategy for the business is to grow it as a brand by expanding distribution, subscriptions, advertisers, services, products, and events in much the same way that he has grown his drum shop and drum manufacturing businesses. Lawrence announced, "I want to revive the dormant NSMD Southern Drum Show and the associated Snare Drum Olympics contest in Nashville which will run concurrently with NAMM's summer conventions.
The NSMD engraved snare drum will also go back into production. A new distribution network for retailers has been established with Universal Percussion and other jobbers. I will send a free quarterly digital E-magazine to subscribers and non subscribers. I am adding a sorely needed Ebay component to sell vintage instruments, branded merchandise, subscriptions and back issues. This is also a great way to promote the magazine. The NotSoModernDrummer.com website has been improved and there is a new forum and "bluebook" website at VintageDrumMuseum.com for researching brands and prices. The core content of the magazine will remain about vintage drums of the early and mid 20th century, but more modern content has been added to it to reflect how the current manufacturers' recently discontinued models are now considered "vintage".
Before Ebay came along, NSMD magazine was the foremost advertising and information source for vintage and custom collectors. In 1999 Ebay took over and not only increased the supply and demand for vintage and custom drums but also expanded the demographics of the audience by attracting younger collectors.
NSMD magazine did not adapt and keep up with the times. Lawrence says his mission is to reestablish NSMD as THE source for information about vintage and custom drums by bringing it into the 21st century with new technology and a broader scope. Lawrence also plans to expand and improve the subject matter of the magazine by including drums of the last twenty to thirty years that heretofore were not really recognized as "vintage" instruments by purists.
The magazine has a prestigious roster of vintage drum experts on its writing staff who will continue to feature the great older drum companies like Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers, Leedy, Premier, Sonor, Slingerland, Trixon, etc. It will also expand coverage with new writers to what Lawrence calls "modern vintage" drums by latter day manufacturers like, Pearl, Tama, Mapex, Yamaha, Taye, DW, Pacific and others. Lawrence notes, "The magazine and our websites will now address the entire range of what vintage hunters and collectors are actually looking for on Ebay. The modern vintage articles will draw on my 23 years of experience as a drum shop owner and drum builder and will feature interviews with all the current major and minor drum companies, focusing on their discontinued models as well as their newer models that are based on classic and retro design. We also hope to document factory tours and their history archives and museums."
Also, more real estate will be given in the magazine to the small custom and boutique drum builders whose presence has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. They are the builders of what will become some of the most sought after vintage drums in the years to come.
Contact Not So Modern Drummer and George Lawrence by visiting his profile. George will be at NAMM '09 at the Universal Percussion booth.