[SOUNDSTAGE!] Marc Mickelson is the
Editor-in-Chief of SoundStage!
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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
December 1999

Five and Counting

With this month’s issue, we celebrate our fifth year in existence -- and fifth year of monthly publishing. Over those years, we’ve changed -- gotten bigger and better, which applies to the Internet too. Wouldn’t you have liked to have bought e-Bay and Yahoo stock five years ago? You’d probably be less likely to worry about the cost of audio gear these days. Our five years in existence have been a wild ride made up of late nights, travel, scraping, and too much time in front of the computer. However, we are prepared to make things even harder on ourselves as we expand and refine our product. Chances are that next year at this time, SoundStage! will look different, but our core will remain the same: the best audio journalism you will find on the Internet.

What do we have in store? First of all, at CES 2000 we will be presenting our first annual Reviewers’ Choice awards to manufacturers whose products have impressed us for various reasons. You will see the product categories later this month when our Las Vegas 2000 site goes online. And on January 1, 2000, we will unveil our choices for the best music of 1999. This will be a small and select list, but one that’s informed and distinguished too. I feel confident that all choices belong in the collections of music omnivores everywhere.

Our E-Mag, the second issue of which you will be able to download this month, will be a focus over the next year. We want the E-Mag to be able to sustain itself as a quarterly until it is self-sufficient enough for it to go bi-monthly, which we hope will happen this year, and perhaps monthly after that. Each issue costs us money to produce because of the layout and small number of advertisers we can accommodate. Issue 1 of the E-Mag was a success and has been downloaded over 7000 times so far, which we consider pretty good given that it’s still relatively unknown. We hope the E-Mag will grow to over 10,000 downloads by issue 3, and double that by the end of the year. The ISP that hosts the E-Mag has a surprise coming.

Video Online is in a unique position, we think. While there are other audio sites on the Internet, we know of no sites like SoundStage! that cater in a serious way to videophiles, and so we will be growing our coverage of home theater and film in the next year. In the end, we want Video Online to be as substantial as Audio Online (which may kill both Doug Schneider and me -- stay tuned). We also have great plans for our archives, which now house over 300 full-length reviews, as well as our Reviewers’ Choice area, which now has its own URL -- www.reviewerschoice.com. Watch for both to expand in 2000 and beyond.

Finally, the feedback we receive from you has been simply amazing. It’s obvious that you not only like what we do, but also look to us for advice and encourage us to review products that you are interested in but we may never have heard of. To this we say thank you, and we encourage you to keep writing. We consider letters from you as the most direct kind of market research. You not only have to be motivated enough by something we do to take the time to formulate your thoughts, but you also have to take the time to sit down and write us a letter. To say we take this seriously is an understatement, as those of you who have received responses within minutes of sending your letters already know. So please keep letting us know how we’re doing, what you like, and what you don’t like. We take it to heart, and maybe next year, on the eve of our six-year anniversary, we’ll be talking about implementing an idea that you’ve supplied.

...Marc Mickelson

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