A former Teesside University student has set up his own music magazine that is going from strength to strength.
Lee Allcock is now running NE Volume which is a free monthly print and online music magazine.
Lee graduated with a BA(Hons) Journalism and News Practice degree and launched the first print edition of the magazine in July 2015.
It has been so successful that he now distributes over 3,000 copies around the North-East each month.
Tside caught up with Lee to ask him a few questions about his experiences.
Tside: What inspired you to set up your own magazine/website? How did your background influence your decision?
Lee: “My idea actually began back in college (Stockton Sixth Form) where I basically wanted to go to gigs, review them, and get paid for it – I thought, at 16, that that would be the dream job.”
“I then went on to study Journalism at Teesside University like yourself, and I worked voluntarily at another North East music magazine (I won’t mention who).
“Whilst volunteering for the magazine, I noticed they were covering the Newcastle area primarily and I felt that bands/venues/music-related businesses in Teesside and the surrounding areas weren’t getting the recognition they deserved.
“So my idea basically came about because I wanted to help those involved in the music scene in this area (and the North East as a whole) to gain recognition for their hard work.”
Tside: What challenges did you face in setting up your publication?
Lee: “At the time of setting the printed magazine up I was also working full time as a copywriter. I had to think, do I want to be working 9-5, 5 days a week hating it but earning the same wage each month, or do I want to quit it and live my dream but with there being no real stability? For me I didn’t have to think twice, I went for it and I’m so glad I did.”
Tside: How do you feel it has gone? Has the level of success and interest surprised you?
Lee: We’ve now just released our ninth edition so I’m absolutely over the moon with how it’s gone. I’ve had support from so many bands/songwriters/promoters/venues/local businesses, and I can’t thank each and every person enough! I’m actually extremely surprised with how it’s gone. I mean, I knew there was a gap in the market but I didn’t know just how big that gap was!”
Tside: What have you learned from the experience? What advice would you give to others looking to branch out and go the independent route instead of following more traditional career paths in journalism?
Lee: “I’ve learnt that you shouldn’t just settle for a job that’s dull but pays the bills. If you have a dream, go for it! Always think big, and then think bigger, and then keep thinking. If you’re bored of what you’re doing then it’s time to branch out.”
Tside: Finally, what does the future hold for NE Volume?
Lee: “We’re slowly looking to move further south into the likes of Thirsk, York, Leeds and the surrounding areas. There’s also room to move into the west (NW Volume if you will) but they’re just ideas at the moment and the reality is that that’s going to take years rather than months.”
“This year, I’d just like to increase copy numbers so that even more people in the North East get chance to read the magazine. Oh, and we’ll be looking to update the website too and maybe launch our own radio station – but they’re just ideas for now, and nothing has been finalised.”