CREEM magazine returns to print after 33yrs

US rock magazine CREEM has published its first print edition in 33yrs, which is being made available by way of a unique subscriptions offering. The first issue of the quarterly 10 x 14” magazine includes 128 pages, and original artwork from legendary US ink artist, Raymond Pettibon. 

In June, the CREEM brand was reborn as a new editorial website inclusive of the magazine’s entire 1969 – 89 archive. For US$5 a month, subscribers can access over 69,000 articles, reviews, images, and ads, which have been meticulously scanned and presented in the form of the 224 original issues.

Those wishing to upgrade their membership can opt for the print + digital option ($79/year), and there’s even a fan club priced at $129 per year that includes, in the words of the publisher, ‘exclusive cool shit’. 

That publisher is CREEM Entertainment, a new incarnation of the magazine’s original publishing house led by JJ Kramer (son of original CREEM co-Founder & Publisher Barry Kramer) and former VICE Publisher John Martin, who is CEO of the company. 

“We’re very serious about not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Martin, “and wanted to do something that defies conventions of what a ‘rock mag’ should have on a cover.”

As you might expect from a publication that went from underground paper to national powerhouse, the content remains as fresh today as it’s ever been. In addition to the artwork of Pettibon, editorial talent has been pulled-in from the likes of VICE’s Noisey, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone, with new content spanning generations and genres such as a ‘Stars Cars’ interview with Slash.   

Phot by Shayan Asgharnia, via CREEM magazine.

New digital-print landscape

Bringing together the enticing ingredients of legacy archives, smart subscriptions strategy, quality-over-quantity-print runs, and of course an indie allure that delivers ‘exclusive cool shit’, the rebirth of CREEM represents perhaps the quintessential moment in the evolution of the modern print-digital relationship.

Publishers are rediscovering the importance of products within the modern media mix, and of course the printed page remains one of the most applicable ways to create them.

“The growth of the indies has reminded the mainstream publishers of the strengths of the magazine format,” magCulture Founder, Jeremy Leslie, told us back in May. “This means knowing what your speciality is and building tight relationships with a smaller group of readers that share that interest. Quality not quantity!”

For CREEM – and indeed in the form of other innovative subscriptions offerings, such as Inside Empire, which we looked at recently – success doesn’t necessarily need to mean sacrificing one over the other. 

Instead, such publishers are finding new ways to provide frictionless scale alongside exclusive engagement, and this of course can provide positive results for advertising as well as reader revenues. 

The full CREEM story – inclusive of documentary – can be viewed here. And for our part, I’ll leave you with the words that FIPP President & CEO, James Hewes, used to kick-off Congress in June:

“For many years, I’ve stood on stages like this and pretended that magazines were a thing of the past,” said Hewes. “I’m not prepared to do that anymore… I love magazines. And I suspect most of you love magazines too. Let’s celebrate that alongside our more recent achievements, rather than being ashamed of it.”


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