View Full Version : A fishing (but not phishing) phone call this afternoon

Neil McCauley
14-12-2015, 18:47
So anyway, sitting here in the office I got a call on the mobile from an unknown caller. Not a ‘cold call’ in the irritating sense either. This person, an AoS visitor but not, so he told me a subscriber noticed the Audiophile News and Music Review ‘signature’ had changed this afternoon. Neil and I were rather pleased because – until that point – we had no evidence that anyone ever looked at our signature.

The questions:
He was curious about what lay behind the phrase ‘+ a few audiophile and music journalist friends from the paper-based side who wish to remain anonymous’ Who are these people he wondered? How many? Are they UK based? Which magazines? Why anonymous? His tone wasn’t demanding, not aggressive but well articulated, searching and a tad assertive with only a tiny hint of aggression. Moreover I didn’t recognise the voice and I forgot to note the name down. Later, it turned out the caller’s number had been withheld.

Puzzled rather than disturbed:
On and off I've been pondering on this, more puzzled than disturbed. Having thought about this, my guess is that the caller was possibly a magazine editor with a whiff of paranoia or … a journalist looking for freelance work. It didn’t seem like a malicious call ….. and it still doesn’t. In the dialogue I was firm that the identities were not going to be revealed, nor the number of collaborators, nor which countries they were based in. As for the magazines they write for – imagine if you would a slightly derisory laugh from me of an appropriately short duration.

A change in tone
This was all in what I think the mystery caller might agree was a light-hearted manner. His tone though turned just a tad chillier when I volunteered that these industry ‘mavericks’ don’t get paid; providing their services for a variety of reasons. He sounded incredulous. And then he invited me to opine why they’d do this.

Writing on the wall perhaps?
Certainly an interesting question. Maybe one day I'll ask each of them. For now though, I can only speculate. I suspect it’s a combination of factors. It’s no secret that paper-based magazines have readership in decline which in turns means that advertising revenue per page is also declining. Thus, unless funded as a hobby which may well be the case, or funded – directly or indirectly by one of more importer / distributors possibly their long-term financial stability is questionable and they might be looking to establish a presence with us. We aren’t sure.

As for the anonymity .....
well this seems prudent. From what I can gather, some editors of some paper-based audiophile publications can be autocratic, draconian in their application of discipline to ‘hack’ journalist / reviewers and highly selective with regards to which brands (rather than individual items of equipment) to review, and to summarily dismiss out of hand the new lids on the block. Some established employees, reduced to being text-generating robots, might resent this. We certainly would.

Time will tell – maybe.