|Publisher||Fleeing from Pigeons|
|First issue||14 August 2007|
Bearded is a British bi-monthly music magazine that distributes nationwide through WHSmith, Borders, independent record shops and newsagent's shops. The magazine covers the independent music industry and only reviews artists who are either unsigned or signed to independent record labels.
Starting from issue FFP. E in January 2009, Bearded have published a mission statement to reassert the reasons for the magazine's existence. This statement also appears on the magazine's website under the 'About Us' heading.
The statement, in full, is:
Bearded exists to generate coverage for independent labels and artists regardless of genre, background or how fashionable they are.
Bearded aims to do this in a publication that has top quality art direction and design at its heart, with writing that allows the reader to form their own opinions rather than being told what to think and what to like.
Bearded’s editorial direction is not dictated by advertisers, distributors or anybody else that might generate monetary support. It is put together exclusively by music lovers for music lovers – like a conversation in a pub, but with much nicer paper.
Bearded tries to make its money simply through magazine sales and Beardaid support. Help us carry on making beautiful, refreshing and unwavering publications at: www.beardaid.co.uk.
The idea behind Bearded came when founder Gareth Main was working as editor of golf trade publication Golf Course News International. With a nonchalant attitude to golf and a love for independent music, Main realised that there was a gulf in the music magazine market for artistic magazines aimed at music and that there was a significant niche in providing nationwide coverage on independent artists.
The first issue of Bearded was released on 14 August 2007 with an illustration of actor and musician Matt Berry on the cover. The design of the cover was minimal, with the original, barely readable Bearded logo being the only branding with no contents or other information on the front. This design continued through the first 18 months of the magazine, until Bearded relaunched into WHSmith and other major retail stores on 29 January 2009 where the logo changed and a few contents were subtly inserted into the cover. It did though retain the minimal aesthetic.
Bearded is printed on high quality, 100% recycled heavyweight paper stock that is uncommon in the music magazine marketplace (which tends to have an emphasis on basic stock). Its art design is minimal throughout, with a heavy emphasis on white space and readability as opposed to cluttering the pages with text and information. Full page illustrations from unknown and famous artists are common, and the writers are generally unknown in music journalism. The magazine has become known as a useful stepping stone for young writers, with many now working at major publishing houses.
On 14 July 2008, Bearded announced the launch of Beardaid, a charitable side to the magazine that aimed to further help people working in the independent music industry by offering exclusive records, magazines, gigs and merchandise to supporters who donated £2 a month to the scheme. Beardaid would then offer independent labels subsidised advertisements in Bearded to help them reach a wider audience previously unreachable due to cost.
Gareth Main stated at the launch: "Bearded launched... with the express aim of generating national coverage for the independent music sector. Since then, over 100,000 people have picked up a copy or been through our website and we want to utilise that popularity in a way that will not only help Bearded survive into the future, but also help independent labels get more coverage than they could have dreamt imaginable."
Notable artists featured
Amongst others, Bearded has featured Matt Berry, Animal Collective, Polyphonic Spree, Fiery Furnaces, Future of the Left, Misty's Big Adventure, Robert Wyatt, Stanley Brinks, David Shrigley, British Sea Power, Jeffrey Lewis and Adele.
After the magazine's launch, it gained a positive response from the online community. Online Journalism blogger Paul Bradshaw heralded the magazine's "web-savvy business model" whilst Created in Birmingham's Pete Ashton commented on Bearded's "very impressive start."
The flow of Bearded is follows a chronological timeline. The magazine starts with reviews of live events (the past), continues with news and features (the present) and ends with listings and reviews of future releases (the future). The break to this line comes in the feature From the Euphotic Depths on the second to last page where one of the contributors talks about their love for a band long forgotten.
Another regular feature is the Bearded Sluice Box, where a handful of emerging artists are highlighted for readers to investigate further.
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