History of Rock is not rock

I’m a big fan or rock music. I mean, rock music is my life. Rock attitude is a concept well formed in my head, but I admit I’m not able to express what I mean with it. 

When I hire people, or when I deal with people in general, I’m always looking for the rock attitude, and usually HR is asking: “what do you mean by that?”. It’s difficult to explain what I mean by that, because it’s something inside me, it’s a vision, a feeling, that you cannot learn in your HR manuals or in books.

Anyway, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that the musical magazine Uncut was publishing a monthly volume called “History of Rock“, starting from the year 1965 on. You can read more about it here.

It happened that I discovered this when I was on my way to Florida and since I had to make a stop in London Heathrow Airport, I went directly to the newsstand to find this incredible magazine. I managed to find the 1967, 1968 and 1969 issues, and you cannot imagine how happy I was.

History of Rock is really well done, so I decided to subscribe, since there was even a Black Friday offer. From the moment I subscribe on, the excitement was transformed to a terrible experience. Long story short : no wonder magazines and print media are dying. Now, follow the story to understand why this is happening.

#Update : Time Inc. answered me via private email

The portal is Magazine Direct and I did all the steps required to subscribe with that offer. I paid with my credit card (or so I thought…more on this later) and I received an email right away.

Here is the first problem. This is the email.


few notes:

  1. the beginning of the email is not rock and roll at all. “Dear Madeyski” ? Really? I mean, if you want to use surname of your subscribers, then at least go for “Dear Mr. Madeyski”.
  2. The email is saying that I will receive an email in 5 working days. This never happened. Not even in the spam. So I didn’t have the subscriber number.
  3. In that email there are at least 4 different emails contact for support. I don’t need 4 emails, I need one. One that works.
  4. The email is giving me a order number. Basically you cannot use this number whatsoever, because they need a subscriber number, and as you know already, I don’t have one at this point.
  5. There is a link where I can track my order. In this page, there is another reference number (different from the order number, but still NOT the subscriber number), my address and so on, but NO information about my order. So what am I supposed to track on this page?
  6. Contact Uncut? Here is their contact page; as you can see no form , nothing. Just share buttons over and over 😀

I wanted to contact Magazine Direct asking to start my subscription from the 1970 issue. Note to Magazine Direct: it would be awesome to ask your subscriber from which number they want the subscription to start, since writing “the subscription will start with the next issue available” does not mean anything, really.

Anyway, I need to contact Magazine Direct. Now which email to use of the 4 provided? I know the answer in this case: all 4.

I did receive one answer asking for my subscriber number, and after I replied that I don’t have it, I didn’t receive any more emails from support. Radio silence. Is this rock? Nope. It’s called “support” not “fuck off”. 

After weeks with no update, I decided to reach out to John Mulvey on twitter , being the editor of “History Of Rock”. I have to say John was awesome, because he put me in contact with the support directly. Now, John was rock.

He was very kind indeed. Nobody from the support he CC’d in the email answered yet, although John reminded me that due to high volumes of order under Christmas, this might have happened.

Few days later, though, I received an email from Magazine Direct. This is the email (note, this is the actual email):


What the fuck? Only when I hover with the mouse and select , I was able to read the email.

WHAT ? After few hours, I received the same email but this time the text was readable (still no excuse for the previous email).

The support finally said: “Hey Alessio, your credit card decline the payment, so we didn’t start the subscription”.

HALLELUJAH! Finally an answer that makes sense! 

Problem is at this point I decided NOT to subscribe anymore, because the experience was so bad that I fear that if I subscribe and then I have problems in the future, nobody is there to support me. 

It’s a pity, because I LOVE “History of Rock”. The magazine is rock indeed, but the the digital experience behind is not rock and roll at all.

They lost a subscriber, but moreover they lost an evangelist of the magazine, because I was telling about “History of Rock” to everyone.

Why these magazines (happened in the past as well) have so hard times to be online? Keep in mind that Uncut and History of Rock are part of Time Inc family. Why they are so bad in creating digital experience? As I said before: no wonder print media is dying.

Rock is not only a type of music, it’s an attitude. If you are talking about rock, but you are not rock, you better shut up.


Update (December, 18th): after less than 24h, Ed from Time Inc wrote me an email apologizing for the terrible experience. It was unexpected, and the email was full of kind words, but you can see Ed meant each one of them. I was very happy about it. Here is the lessons: 1) always speak up; 2) this is exactly what companies should do: care for the single customer, because the mass is not always the answer; 3) help companies to understand their mistake, help them as much as you can, because your help is going to make the experience for other people a lot better, and you eventually you did a great thing; 4) like the one and only Henry Rollins said “You need a little bit of insanity to do great things”.

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