Musicians - Harmony Central's Celebrating a Milestone!
By Dendy Jarrett |
HC’s Celebrating a Milestone!
And we have you to thank…
by Dendy Jarrett
April 7, 2017, marked a milestone for Harmony Central: it was exactly two years ago that the site was acquired by our parent company, Gibson Brands, Inc. Little did we realize at the time what this would mean, other than that our beloved Harmony Central would still be hanging onto life by a thread.
When the last owners of Harmony Central decided to shutter the windows, there were lots of people who wanted to see HC live. Only one person decided take action, believing that HC was an institution with an important task and legacy — the CEO of Gibson Brands, Inc. He believed in our mission of inspiring people to make music as well as to make better music. Not only did he purchase Harmony Central and keep it going with hardly a hiccup, but he also kept the core team of editors in place — which was essential to maintaining our editorial integrity.
During our initial meeting with the new owner, we expressed concern regarding the goal to keep Harmony Central editorial neutral. Phil asked, "Well, what do we do about reviewing a Fender guitar?" The answer was simple: "Well, if it's a good guitar, you give it a good review. If it's a bad guitar, you give it a bad review. (pause) Any other questions?”
Then he gave us our marching orders: "You need to be neutral, public-facing, and internationally oriented. Be edgy and modern and not afraid to be controversial; however, never be mean-spirited. Give people insider information they can't get anywhere else. And have fun, because if you're not having fun, then you won't be able to convey how much fun music is."
We were expecting another shoe to drop...but it never did. We left that meeting feeling cautiously optimistic. We’d heard similar dialog in the past from other owners, yet we still had to take a stand from time to time, fighting to keep HC's neutrality. We had to maintain our position as "the Switzerland of the industry."
That was the first, last, and only directive we ever received about Harmony Central's direction. We have 100% editorial control — a degree of freedom that other media, whether print or web, can only dream about.
Two years later, we continue on our path. Yes, you’ll see Gibson Brands' presence here and there, but that's our decision — not Gibson's. The question we ask ourselves is simple: "If we weren't owned by Gibson, would we cover this product?" With Gibson's having just become the largest music instrument lifestyle company on the planet, we'd be letting the community down if we didn't cover Gibson Brands' products.
Recently, I was speaking with someone who referenced his dog, Fender. I said, "That’s an interesting name; do you play guitar?" He nodded. I told him what I do, and he said: “I not only know about Harmony Central…I’m a member!” And then there was the time Craig went into a convenience store in Utah wearing a Harmony Central logo shirt. The person behind the counter was the stereotypical Middle Eastern immigrant. When he saw Craig, he broke out in a big smile, pointed to the shirt, started miming air guitar, and in broken English said, "Harmony Central! Good site!!"
But despite Gibson's incredible support of our mission, it would mean nothing if it weren't for the loyal community that has stuck with us through good times and bad. Lately, in addition to new members discovering HC for the first time, we’ve experienced an influx of returning members. There was a thread recently in our electric guitar forum in which a member reflected on the influence Harmony Central has had on his love for music and the electric guitar (he also blamed us for his guitar hoarding obsession...okay, we’ll own that one). It was a stark reminder of your importance, and the importance of our (now) 23-year-old community.
You are the reason we're here. Gibson didn't give up on Harmony Central and didn't want to see it die. You didn't either. Our community members and "Make Better Music" readers are the reason we re-dedicate ourselves every day to improving Harmony Central. Not only are we ambassadors to the next generation of musicians, but also so are you — and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this milestone possible.
Join the discussion here!
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.