There’s Something Fishy Going On at Billboard

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Hey, we’ve always loved the guys at Billboard, and they’ve always been very gracious to us.

They invite us to their conferences, they’ve had us over to their offices, and they even offered me a job many years ago.  But there’s something fishy going on over there, and we’re not quite sure what it is.

The first whiff of smoke came last week, when sources told us that the paper version of the magazine suddenly didn’t show.  That was a first, and one called customer service and encountered a tap-dancing rep.  Eventually, the reader got a credit for an extra edition at the tail end of the subscription period, and the rep admitted that the decision to skip the week was ‘last-minute’.  “They have NEVER not published outside of the holidays, without a warning in advance to their readership,” the subscriber of more than twenty years told us.

Just a mix-up?  Curious, we sent a decoy in with a similar complaint, and got a similar answer.  Sorry, no publication last week (with no clear explanation), but everything was now resuming as normal.

Eventually, I put a call in and was redirected to a PR rep (yes, they have a PR rep).  The reason for the non-delivery was a double Grammy-themed issue I was told, and people were apparently alerted ahead of time.

Then, things got complicated.  When someone on our staff tried to initiative a new subscription, a few problems arose.  We first tried through Magazine Agent (magazineagent.com), where subscriptions to Opera News, XXL, Sports Illustrated, Fitness, Stereophile, and seemingly every other magazine were available.  But Billboard?  “We’re sorry, but subscriptions to Billboard are currently unavailable,” the site read.

Time for a direct subscription attempt on Billboard.com.  Foiled again!  After clicking ‘subscribe,’ we got an ugly 404.  At that point it was time to call it quits, but not without a lingering sense of suspicion.  Stay tuned.

-pr