Dulcimer Players News demise

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 weeks ago
1,097 posts

Jennifer, you might get a better a response if you post this as a separate inquiry rather than in the discussion where few people will see it. I have not seen any dulcimer tab for it or even sheet music. I have found guitar chords, but that is all.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Jennifer L Gonzalez
Jennifer L Gonzalez
@jennifer-l-gonzalez
3 weeks ago
1 posts

Has anyone seen tab for Bonnie Bessie Logan, as recorded by Dougie Maclean?

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
10 months ago
1,437 posts

@dulcimerplayersnewseditor Fiona, so happy to have you here!  Though I don't read tablature nor SMN to play music, I am a supporter/subscriber of Dulcimer Players News because it is a valuable resource.  


updated by @robin-thompson: 07/18/23 12:45:37PM
DulcimerPlayersNewsEditor
DulcimerPlayersNewsEditor
@dulcimerplayersnewseditor
10 months ago
2 posts

Hello! I'm the new editor and publisher of Dulcimer Players News, so I wanted to chime in on this wonderful discussion. 

To answer the most pressing question first - no, I do not eat spinach. My mom's a nut for the stuff, but I haven't been able to develop a taste for it. For my dark green leafy vegetable full of iron fix, I prefer pesto. :)

The other more existential questions are a little more difficult to tackle. 

For a little bit of context, like many of you, I was deeply saddened to hear that Ashley would be winding DPN down. I reached out in mid-May about the possibility of taking it on and keeping it going, and the transition happened very quickly. By the end of June we made the transfer and I reopened subscriptions.

I plan to continue DPN as the full color, glossy, quarterly print publication that it has been for many years, because I think there is still a place for print in a changing world. That said, as many of you pointed out, the music and media industries have changed drastically even in just the past 5 years, let alone 50, so it is clear that DPN must adapt in order to remain relevant. Just as musicians have recognized the need to maintain multiple revenue streams and manage a multitude of platforms to reach fans, DPN also needs to find more ways to reach many audiences. 

What exactly will that look like? Right now, I have ideas but no definite plans. Doing more digitally could take a few different forms. Several of you commented that digital magazines aren't exactly appealing. I agree; many tend to be hard to read and enjoy, and I don't think they've matured as an industry. Some print publications (like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal) have successfully moved into a paywall system, which may be a better fit for DPN. Will there be a DPN presence on TikTok? I'm sure there should be.

Another important existential question is what makes DPN valuable? Or phrased differently, what does DPN have that Facebook groups, other online dulcimer pages, and even this forum don't? The way I see it, there's a lot of information on the web, but what the internet often lacks is perspective and curation. I think that is where DPN can help. Connecting the dots between disparate threads and groups, seeing patterns in transient posts, and collecting it in a digestible, appealing repository. 

For the moment, I am focused on getting my feet under me with the print publication and as a first time small business owner. To figure out what's next, I want to hear from readers and supporters. I promise to be transparent and communicative about any changes.

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
11 months ago
252 posts

By my generation, popeye and similar cartoons didnt even play on boomerang. The full collection of betty boop, woody woodpecker, sailor mickey, wile e coyote, popeye, etc were DVDs at the dollar store.


updated by @nate: 07/02/23 11:59:23PM
Bvmaestro
Bvmaestro
@bvmaestro
11 months ago
3 posts

So let me make sure I understand this...Popeye was once a Saturday cartoon?!  So there really is something to this "55 and older crowd"?  I am 52 and I only remember watching Popeye on weekday afternoons with many of the other cartoon show reruns.  I am too old for Nate's crowd, too young for the 55 and older crowd....where do I belong? winky

I am very glad to hear about this development.  When I was originally starting learning to play dulcimer, I was researching over the internet and found DPN, I was completely bummed to learn that I couldn't subscribe and it was ending.  Now that this phoenix is rising from the ashes, I have already subscribed. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
2,263 posts

Well here's hoping the people running DPN are eating their spinach! muscle




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
11 months ago
395 posts

Put mine in some spanakopita, a quiche, or veggie lasagna, or just cook it with a lil' ham or bacon!  Yum - o!

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
11 months ago
252 posts

Lol john it does in fact make you strong to the finish. I was told once that the decimal point was misplaced on a study about the iron content of spinach, thus it was considered a miracle food with 100x the iron it actually had. Personally, I like it with some ricotta, or in a buttered curry with some squash and chicken!

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
11 months ago
395 posts

So, Strumelia, are you, by reason of consuming so much spinach, now able to repeatedly punch big galoots into submission, bust loose from being tied to a chair by heavy ropes, and generally wreak havoc, trying to make the world a more just and equitable place?  There was a feller in the Saturday cartoons a long time ago that answers that description.  The carnage was always preceded by the playing of a jaunty hornpipe.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
2,263 posts

omg what is wrong with you people??  I luuuuuuuv spinach!!!  😂 😎

I grew up only tasting CANNED spinach in school lunches, and it was truly horrible.  BUT as an adult i was amazed to discover how tasty fresh and steamed spinach is... so completely different, and so yummy!! dancetomato

This morning for breakfast i had a giant bowl of steamed radish greens with fresh picked snow peas.... and one pat of butter to rule them all.  mmmmm....




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 06/30/23 08:59:10PM
NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
11 months ago
252 posts

Haha, Gordon, we ate a lot of spinach and poke in Arkansas, but never without sweating it down in some lard or bacon grease. They dont call it soul food cause it's good for the body!

Gordon Hardy
Gordon Hardy
@gordon-hardy
11 months ago
28 posts

Strumelia, this has been such a good discussion so I thought I'd throw in a wee bit of humor Gordon style:  I don't understand your point regarding spinach and I quote:

"I see it as the difference between handing a young person a baby food jar of creamed spinach and saying "here, this is what spinach is"... and giving that young person some spinach seeds and showing them how to plant, grow, harvest, and cook it in various ways."

How disappointing it would be for a young person to go through the trouble of planting, growing, harvesting and cooking spinach only to find out it tastes as horrible as baby food creamed spinach, any way you cook it. As children, my siblings and I were forced to eat lots of spinach, one of the vegetables that grows well in northern Alberta, because "it was good for us" and the garden was full of it. My dear Mother even tried to hide it in lasagna. I firmly believe it was a preparation for us to be able to endure further ordeals as we grew up and left the nest.

I have really enjoyed this discussion even the spinach part.

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
11 months ago
252 posts

Strumelia, the strange thing I've noticed is that my generation will gladly watch a 5 hour video as long as its divided into 20 parts.

In truth I definitely did imagine a tiktok style video telling three minutes of dulcimer history, with a part 2 and 3 and an endless stream of new minutes, since as you said, there is a LOT to cover.

Short condensed videos could help to reach a much broader audience, the way a magazine once could. I know it has been said a lot of times, but I think a dulcimer could easily replace the ukulele as the definitive beginner-friendly instrument for folk music/singer-songwriter music.

I value DPN as it is quite a lot. It is a deep, deep well of information at this point. I wouldn't want to lose that just to make the content more digestible, but if there were a high quality source of digestible excerpts about dulcimer content a la an Instagram video, I suspect that would really help dulcimer to become more culturally relevant. Again, I feel the instrument has so much potential that it blows my mind it's not more popular. 

PS, I hope you are right that people who value self subsistence and traditional skills will help to revive the dulcimer, the typewriter and vinyl people I could take or leave. Lol

Nate


updated by @nate: 06/30/23 07:57:27PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
2,263 posts

Hi Nate. You have some great points!

The way i see it, it's almost impossible to condense such rich and in depth subjects and material into "short vlog style videos showing techniques, styles, tips, history, design, players etc" in a satisfactory or actually valuable way.  Even if done, it would present pre-digested info which the particular vlogger felt was relevant or important. In my humble opinion, there is no satisfactory shortcut for the accumulated knowledge gained through actual reading, researching, listening, looking, hands-on, and discussion. The closest thing that approaches what you describe is browsing through youtube videos about the subjects you were interested in. Goodness knows there are thousands of YT vids out there on every dulcimer subject you can imagine, presented by a multitude of players and perspectives both great and not-so-great. It's all out there free for the browsing already. And if one prefers info that is curated or condensed by a particular source, then there is nothing really better than reading some of the books out there or watching/listening to some of your favorite players. Or by talking to people directly.

I see the DPN magazine as a venue for allowing for the examination and 'expanding upon' of all interesting things dulcimer, rather than as a media whose purpose it is to condense concepts and information about dulcimers and music.

I'm aware that young people now prefer to get all their information (even their world news) in ultra short videos such as we see on tiktok. They don't like to read all that much. However, such an instant vlogging medium has very real limitations. In my admittedly 'old' mind, I see it as the difference between handing a young person a baby food jar of creamed spinach and saying "here, this is what spinach is"... and giving that young person some spinach seeds and showing them how to plant, grow, harvest, and cook it in various ways. If a person is actually interested for more than one hour of their life, perhaps they will want to investigate something in a more active way rather than being spoon fed quick information. You've been here for almost 3 1/2 years now yourself, Nate. I've seen how you positively devour information, innovate, and add to your knowledge!

I hear there might be some talented young folk out there who enjoy 'discovering' typewriters, fountain pens and script, reading bound paper books, spinning wool, making sourdough bread, collecting vinyl records, and crafting obscure musical instruments out of old bundt cake pans!  😁  They will lead the way forward when us older ones are gone.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
11 months ago
1,437 posts

@nate, I think your observation is correct, reflecting current reality..  

I wish DPN all the best and will continue to support.  When the 55 and older crowd is no longer around to purchase, the publication may evolve further and thrive-- I hope so!

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
11 months ago
252 posts

To the conversation about getting young people to engage, I myself am a young person (just turned 24) and I think it would be a huge challenge to get the broader audience of young people to read any sort of printed magazine, digital or physical. Most young people prefer short videos to written text. If dulcimer had an ambassador who could output short vlog style videos showing techniques, styles, tips, history, design, players etc, that would probably be the best bet. It would be a massive undertaking for DPN or anyone else, and probably wouldn't end up worth the time.


updated by @nate: 06/30/23 12:10:07PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
2,263 posts

What a crazy week.

The everythingdulcimer.com goes down in flames while DPN magazine rises again from the ashes!  popcorngirl




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 06/29/23 02:31:50PM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
11 months ago
1,097 posts

I'm glad the plans for the transfer of DPN ownership is finalized. Ashley shared this news with me about a week ago and it has been hard keeping the secret. I've been waiting for her to make It public. Best wishes to Fiona and Bill as they take over the reins at DPN.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
11 months ago
2,263 posts

Wow, that's unexpected!  How nice!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
11 months ago
1,437 posts

This is the breaking news from Ashley Ernst on Facebook (a posting which included a photo of Fiona Potts and Fiona's father) regarding DPN: 

I have been busting with excitement to share this news! Dulcimer Players News is under new stewardship! Meet Fiona Potts publisher/editor of DPN and her father, Bill Wake, tech guru. Subscriptions for the print magazine are again open, so visit dpnews.com to subscribe or renew today!!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
2,263 posts

It's always fun to think about how to spend other people's money.  popcorngirl




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Wally Venable
Wally Venable
@wally-venable
last year
64 posts

Keeping such things alive is simple. All you have to do is find a individual willing to pledge say $30,000 a year to under-right operating losses. That would keep the Editor from having to do so from personal resources.

For that you could hire a young person to do so, and maybe find a solution to bringing new folks into our fold.

For better or worse, people under 35 seem expect to be paid as Executive Directors of things us "over 70s" did as volunteers.

Leo Kretzner
Leo Kretzner
@leo-kretzner
last year
36 posts

Well, I just read all the comments. Various thoughts: 

I've been surprised that people have 'folded' on it quite so quickly, all the well-expressed difficulties notwithstanding.

I totally understand the need for some big change, and also that Ashley herself isn't interested in transforming it to an online forum - but having DPN continue at least in a digital form seems like a bare minimum we should all hope for!! 

A predominant mood of the comments seemed to be 'so sad - for very well said reasons - but oh well'. So a major shout-out to Ken Hulme's very substantive comments of two months ago, starting "I'm pretty sure she explored every avenue"!! Constructive, forward-looking ideas, thank you! Recommended re-reading. 

By the way, don't we say we hope more young people will get into traditional music? And aren't virtually all Millennials (and younger) exclusively consuming culture on digital devices ?? If DPN can't even maintain a decent digital presence then it really is dead, maybe extinct. 'He not busy being born is busy dying.' (the Zimmerman boy)

That said, there is also the "actual pages sitting on the coffee table to look through" appeal, Dusty spoke of. Maybe that will be a generational appeal, we'll see, but perhaps an annual print edition? As a 'limited edition' donor-level thing?

Another potential model to follow, in addition to Ken H's ideas, would be that of FolkWorks , which went from greater-LA print to quasi-national online publication. https://folkworks.org/   

Obviously having FotMD and whatever others helps lessen the loss of the DPN, but really, how close to the amount of impact that DPN has had does any current, single dulcimer web site have?? (And sorry but some of us still prefer a root canal to catbk.) FotMD obviously serves a huge purpose, and seems at a good, sustainable equilibrium. It obviously can't become a 'new dpn' by virtue of the fretted focus; if anything, I wonder if there is a hammered equivalent out there, as seems oughta be. Maybe a question underlying any form of ongoing Dulcimer Players News is whether the two instruments' players are at all really interested in the other type? 

I suppose having Quarantunes somehow get involved is wishful thinking (??), but they've sure shown talent for organizing etc ! And there'd be some karmic aspect to it. Ashley said her main income loss was from festivals going under and losing ads, primarily due to Covid, but also, arguably, from online competition. Are there NO live festivals that will resume? Maybe that's the sad truth, I don't know. I sure had a much better time with a bunch of live folks in Texas last week than I've ever had at a computer festival. Okay, so far. And not that they don't serve a lot of people, it's just... different.](et viva la diff!)

It's always seemed to me doing something like DPN requires a few people, aka a group. Obviously now they can all be remote. Personally, I'd be happy to be AN editor/writer, but not The editor/writer. 

Also btw, of course there are those who haven't heard of DPN, and we can Monday quarterback if they did enough outreach. But context please: I can tell you from recent travels there are plenty of active players who haven't heard of the International Appalachian Dulcimer Day or FotMD itself, either!! WE'RE ALL IN A VERY SMALL NITCH TOGETHER!

One could actually imagine an aspect of a digi-DPN to be short reports about/best of FotMD, Fb, et al! 

Here's a true story: My friend Howie Bursen, wonderful musician in CT, worked for rich people all his life indulging their 'hobby project' - being the vintner who actually set up and ran 'their' wineries. Isn't there a rich lady or guy somewhere who wants to 'do' a niche music digital 'magazine' as a hobby?? Could Cyndi Lauper be interested as underwriter and honorary publisher? I see millions of dollars of RVs and music equipment at music festivals. Qtunes has shown monetization is possible. 

Disclaimer: I'm instinctively disorganized, including schedules and budgets, but I can write and proofread. I can be AN editor but not The Editor (in chief). Needs someone with a business head obviously.  

So I guess we'll see what develops, but count me in! It's truly too good a thing to let die. 

Leo 

 

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
1,097 posts

Just another brief thought. I was surprised when attending festivals that many folks had never heard of DPN. One would mention the magazine in a workshop and people would ask "What is that?" And it wasn't just new players, but also players who had been playing for years. Did anyone else ever encounter this?

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
1,097 posts

Thanks, Dusty, Ken, and Lisa for your comments. As you gathered, my post is a way of dealing with my grief of losing a friend after 49 years.

Dusty thanks for your suggestions about tablets. My wife sits next to me on the sofa and uses an iPad to surf the web, read email, etc. Over the years she has had different sizes and has settled on the one that is about full page size (8 1/2 x 11). I do read books on my Kindle and may some day switch to an iPad for reading. I'm sure part of it for me is just developing new habits. When I referred to "the small number of people on the web," I was thinking about only those who have an interest in mountain dulcimer history which is a small number of the general mountain dulcimer enthusiast population. I agree that the web reaches many more people than print media ever did or would. Obviously I participate on the web and enjoy the camaraderie here and at the other dulcimer web sites. I think the future continues to be bright for the mountain dulcimer and look forward to new days and adventures ahead. Festivals and gatherings will continue in person and on the web. People will discover the mountain dulcimer and start playing or building.

Ken, I appreciate your comments. You pointed out some things I hadn't considered and agree that they contributed to the demise.

Lisa, I appreciate your continuing to offer FOTMD to the dulcimer community. I'm here everyday (sometimes many times) and enjoy our discussions and sharing.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
2,263 posts

Dusty, you expressed it so well. I agree about your coffee table comment, and thank you for the input about tablet size- very helpful!  KenL, I'm glad you posted your timely final tribute to a great publication that enriched all our lives for many years.

It does still feel odd and somehow 'not right' that now both the original (Bruce Ford's) EverythingDulcimer site and DPN magazine are both gone. They were together the very backbone of the dulcimer community. I realize that there is now an entire new generation (or two!) of dulcimer players who never even experienced DPN or the 'real' ED in their heydays. Perhaps we sound like old geezers lamenting the past. oma oldman

To me, facebook groups are rather pale replacements, since 1) they are not conducive to in depth discussion, 2) they tend to consist largely of ads and self promotions, and 3) the info posted on them just kinda disappears after a day or two and it's almost impossible to search for any past content. Not to mention you have to join FB  (puking lolol)




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
2,126 posts

I have to agree with Dusty.  Electronic dulcimer media are sending the same message as DPN to thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, more people today than DPN ever heard of.  DPN was the wonder of its time, it brought together players and builders across the country, and encouraged many, many people to take up the art and craft of dulcimer.

But as the song says, "the times they are a changing..."   I too miss the old DPN.  I always wished it could have been a monthly not a quarterly.  Back in the day, 'newsletters' were quarterly mimeographed publications of a few pages sent to a small list of subscribers.  The most successful newsletters graduated larger mailing lists and published monthly. The very best became full-fledged glossy magazines.  DPN seemed to stall half way between.  It went gloss and included ads, but never went monthly.  Knowing a bit about the history of publications, I suspect that that was the first step 'downhill' -- it failed to continue to grow.  Readers demanded more, and more frequent, information (a trend which electronic media are especially good at), but DPN never made that leap.


updated by @ken-hulme: 05/11/23 07:14:00AM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
last year
1,732 posts

Ken. I appreciate your thoughts and share many of them.  Neither Acoustic Guitar nor Flatpicking Guitar Magazine are available in physical form anymore. When a new issue comes out and I get a pdf in my inbox, I skim through it once and never look again. It's not like a physical magazine that you leave on the coffee table and return to again and again.

Personally, I find I do read a bit on my medium-sized tablet.  If you don't already, you might consider getting one, and pay specific attention to the size.  Some are too big to hold comfortably, and the screens on smaller ones are too small. Find that goldilocks just-right spot for yourself.

But I question why you refer to the "small number of people on the web."  There are more members of this site than there are subscribers to DPN.  There are more dulcimer players engaging on Facebook than there are subscribers to DPN.  To be blunt, the market has spoken.  I think the first sign was when DPN stopped including classified ads.  Websites such as this one are simply much more efficient and timely for selling used instruments than is a quarterly magazine, and yet those ads were a major source of revenue.  That change was the first bit of proverbial writing on the wall.

So while I also lament the end of the hard copy of DPN, I would like to see the sunshine rather than the clouds. As you point out, the great achievement of DPN was to create and sustain a dulcimer community that was spread thin across the country.  It brought us together.  The people are still here. Dulcimer festivals are still happening, both in person and online.  While we have seen many luthiers pass away over the last few years, many are still around and lots of new ones are making wonderful instruments.  Pat Clark gets 100-200 people joining her Send in the Music dulcimer jam every single week!  DPN played an important role for many years and created the connections that have made possible the flourishing of the dulcimer community online.  Let's celebrate it for what it accomplished and what it has meant for us.  And let's celebrate the dulcimer community. We can all make music by ourselves at home, but sharing that joy with others is why we read DPN or interact on FOTMD. In the end, it's all about the people, and we're still here.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
1,097 posts

I just received the last the glossy printed issue of DPN. The next two issues, the final ones, will be printed using a Risograph machine which is a step above a mimeograph. Ashley Ernst, the publisher/editor of DPN, explains the reasons for this in this issue's editorial. I understand the reasons for this decision as the magazine folds. The editorial made me not only wax nostalgic about the early days of DPN, but also speculate what a future will be like without the quarterly journal showing up in my post office box. Almost from the inception of DPN it has been a constant companion on my dulcimer journey both hammered and mountain. It was the place I turned to for information about other players and builders. It connected me folks who shared a love of these instruments as well as kept me abreast of the what was happening in the dulcimer world. My chosen vocation kept me from attending any dulcimer festivals until late in the 1990s. Contact with other players in those days was infrequent. The magazine was there to encourage me and sustain. 

Times have changed; we all know that. Many print publications have ceased to exist or gone digital. I have to confess that when something to which I subscribed has converted to digital editions, I've stopped reading them. It's probably my age, but I find it difficult to sit with a computer on my lap to read for any length of time. The same is true for sitting in front of my desk top computer. It is more tiring on my eyes than holding and reading a paper magazine. I do read a good amount of material online, e.g., here at FOTMD, TTAD, and ED as well as at non-dulcimer related websites.

Beyond the nostalgia, I wonder what effect this will have on dulcimer makers, players, instructors, festivals, etc. One avenue of getting the word about performances and products will disappear. The sharing of dulcimer history. which for a long time was a feature of DPN, will occur now only among a small number of people on the web.The exposure of the larger dulcimer community to these niche interests will be reduced. So will the exposure of the builders, performers, merchants, and others involved with various aspects of the dulcimer world.

I know we have this site, TTAD, ED, and various social media outlets to discuss and share news about and our love the dulcimer. I participate in those, but it is not the same. The information on social media sites is transient. For the most part you can't go back and look up something that caught your attend. Websites are a little more permanent but not like the archiving of a magazine. How often does one try find a link, photo, or other file on the web only to discover it has disappeared? We live in a world of impermanence.

So what does the future hold? I don't have a crystal ball. I do have some more thoughts. We will adapt. One door closes and another one opens. I don't really know what that will be. I'm sure those who desire to share knowledge about the mountain dulcimer (and the hammered dulcimer) will find effective ways to get the word out. I'm not sure how that word will be preserved.

Lately I've been reading a few books about the Civil War. What strikes me about these books is the amount of material that comes from written diaries and letters.What will the biographers and novelists who write about our time use as primary source material?

Well, if you have read this far, I commend you for sticking with me. I am interested in what you think, so perhaps you will share your thoughts here.

Finally, thank you to all those who contributed to DPN over the years; from the publishers, to the writers, to the advertisers, to the subscribers. All you have had a tremendous influence on my life. I wish you all the best andI look forward to our next chapter whatever that may be.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
2,126 posts

Strumelia:

I hear there are tens of dollars to be made in dulcimer magazines and websites.



If you're lucky, Strumelia...  if you're lucky.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
2,263 posts

I hear there are tens of dollars to be made in dulcimer magazines and websites.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
last year
252 posts

My experience with the dulcimer community on this website is a very altruistic desire to share information and music. So many on here have taken quite a lot of time out of their day to write long posts to help me or someone else or folks in general with understanding and appreciating the dulcimer, and I'm really grateful for that. At the end of the day I know that all the help I've gotten is proof that dulcimer people love helping and sharing with others, so I know they will always find a way to do it handshake

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
2,126 posts

I'm pretty sure she explored every avenue before deciding to close the doors.  Things today aren't what they were when DPN started as a mimeographed newsletter all those years ago.  Today you need not just writing/editing skills but serious computer saavy.  The costs of printing small run publications, especially in the color with the quality we expect today have gone out of sight and subscribers are dropping off as the popularity of electronic media has risen, and the remaining subscribers are less and less willing to pay the costs of production, honoraria for writers, and something approaching compensation for the editor.  

The other issue is that a magazine needs in-depth quality material to print, and fewer people these days are doing so.  People today seemingly would rather start random "sound bite" discussions on the plethora of dulcimer social media sites.  

DPN might... just might... survive as a sort of subscription-based "contributory blog" -- an electronic magazine.  Think of a website, similar to FOTMD, where you would pay a monthly or annual fee to read articles, watch short videos, and see photos, but not comment on them except for a thousand words  per month (like a letter to the editor).   There are already a number of scholarly journals operating on this basis -- JSTOR and Academia.edu come to mind immediately.  Subscribers would receive notification emails whenever a certain amount of new material was published.  Articles could be read on line or perhaps downloaded for personal use only.

Folks who have interesting things to report about the dulcimer, its use, history, etc, etc.  would upload articles with illustrations/photos or video clips (all in appropriate electronic formats) to the editor.  The editor would do his/her editorial magic and upload the articles to a website where subscribing readers can access them.  Contributors would get paid via Papal or Zelle.  There would be paid advertisements interspersed with the articles.

Here again, the question remains whether there would be sufficient interest -- advertisements and people willing to pay a monthly/annual subscription fee -- to support someone doing all that writing, editing, and electronic manipulation, plus support the massive bandwidth and computer resources, etc.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/16/23 07:53:10AM
Michael Willey
Michael Willey
@michael-willey
last year
30 posts

I wonder if Ashley tried selling DPN to someone who would continue its publication?

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
1,097 posts

In my conversation with Ashley she indicated she would keep up the events calendar and maybe the club list, but I don't think she was interested in maintaining a digital newsletter. I guess if that is a need for the dulcimer community someone will develop it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
2,126 posts

Nate -- there is always the "archive" on issuu.com -- see the link a couple posts below here....


updated by @ken-hulme: 03/15/23 04:36:00PM
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,437 posts

@nate Ashley Ernst has indicated there will still be an online presence of some kind for DPN even after the print editions cease.   


updated by @robin-thompson: 03/15/23 06:03:10PM
NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
last year
252 posts

I am not a regular reader, but I've pulled up a TON of random articles over time. Sorry is this question is out of the loop, but will there be any type of replacement, maybe a less frequent digital newsletter or something more manageable?  It's a real bummer though, for someone like me who isnt really connected to the culture of dulcimer playing, DPN regularly exposed me to ideas I'd never have even known to look for, including techniques, historical information, etc.

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
last year
2,126 posts

ocean-daughter
We still need a way to stay connected with the community as a whole.  I do, anyway.    


That's what the original Sweet Music listserv, Everything Dulcimer and then FOTMD have provided -- relatively instant worldwide contact and connection.  Plus the plethora of local, regional and national dulcimer pages on Facebook.  It was when e-services began that DPN started to lose it's timeliness and relevance. 

Fred-Kess
Fred-Kess
@fred-kess
last year
7 posts

The archive of DPN past publications is shared online here: https://issuu.com/dulcimerplayersnewsinc

I found it while searching for:

ocean-daughter
@ocean-daughter
last year
45 posts

I learned of this when I received my magazine yesterday.  Ashley said she would keep the website up, and the festival and club directories.  

I'd like to see some sort of blog or continued articles online if not in print.  That's my wish anyway.  I feel like the dulcimer community has done amazingly on embarking on the new online adventure.  We still need a way to stay connected with the community as a whole.  I do, anyway.    

Homer Ross
Homer Ross
@homer-ross
last year
17 posts

I was sadden to learn that DPN was shutting down the publication at the end of 2024. Ashley is doing the right thing by honoring those who have a subscription to the end of 2024. The publication was such a part of my life for many many years and I believe was the glue that held the community together. DPN will be missed by many.

Ben Barr Jr
Ben Barr Jr
@benjamin-w-barr-jr
last year
64 posts

I am stunned to learn of this.  I have been thus far a one-time contributor with an article that I wrote on Dulcimer Association of Albany's yearly festival Mountain Dulcimer Music Festival.  I had written another article but that has yet to see the light of day from DPN.  I've enjoyed what interactions I've had with Ashley and realize that this decision doesn't come easy.  I was actually hoping to get to a point where I would travel around the country a bit and take in other festivals and maybe write on those.  I do wish Ashley the best.  If I were younger (and perhaps had a bit more money) I might have thought about taking this venture over; but at my current age (68) I'm trying not to tie myself down too much.  This is sad news as since when I first learned of DPN in the mid 90s I have treasured receiving my quarterly copy of this fine magazine.  

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
last year
1,732 posts

This is sad news indeed.  DPN served an obvious need for several decades.  But since we can now interact, share, teach, and learn online in real time and asynchronously, the role of a quarterly print magazine seems minimal.  It would be nice to think it could still exist in digital form, as Acoustic Guitar Magazine does, but that wouldn't minimize the amount of work involved.  I don't blame Ashley for deciding it's run it's course.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
last year
2,263 posts

Well stated Ken.

Wishing all the best for the folks involved. Times have really changed profoundly. Sad to see this worthy magazine come to an end. What a noble run it had though!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
last year
1,437 posts

Ashley is a wonderful person and I wish her all the best as finishes out her tenure at the helm of DPN! 

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
last year
1,097 posts

On Facebook today, 01 February 2023, Ashley Ernst announced that DPN will cease publication in 2024. She did not give a volume or issue number, but I suspect the last issue will be the first one that comes out in 2024. Again, that is just speculation on my part.

Having been a columnist and contributor to DPN over the years, I will miss the magazine. I understand why Ashley made this difficult decision. Many print publications are ending that aspect of life and shifting to electronic (online) editions. There was no mention of this as a possibility for DPN.

In the early days of DPN it seemed the "newsletter" worked to create a community of dulcimer enthusiasts. It helped people share ideas, arrange meetings (festivals), and find places to buy instruments. It also kept us posted on what we were all doing. While these things continued over the life of the magazine, over the last 10 or 15 years the emphasis seemed to shift to teaching techniques or songs. In a sense it became a quarterly lesson for mountain or hammered dulcimer. The connection of getting to know "dulcimer people" seemed to have been lost. We knew contributors were good players and provided excellent lessons without learning what brought them to play the dulcimer, desire to teach, etc. I know that much of that community building happens at festivals, but with so many festivals going virtual what we are experiencing is group video lessons and little real community (but that is a whole other discussion).

I offer my thanks to Ashley, Dan, Maddie, and Phil for their hard work and dedication to DPN and the dulcimer community it created. Without them who knows where we would all be. So to those five folks and all who contributed to the magazine over the years, "So long, and thanks for the all the fish."

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."


updated by @ken-longfield: 02/01/23 05:36:29PM