But Will American Iron stay in business?
American Iron magazine has been around for over 30 years, but print motorcycle publications seem to all be suffering a quick and sudden death.
Last year saw the demise of Cycle Canada as a print publication despite their self-labeling as “Canada’s leading motorcycle magazine.” Rob Harris’ Canada Moto Guide is a shell of what it once was since Rob’s unfortunate passing in 2016. Going back to 2014, we gave a shout out to the closing of Iron Works magazine after over 20 years in production.
It seems like no matter what side of the border you’re on, the motorcycle content producing industry is becoming less and less about independently (often family-owned) motorcycle publications, and more about giant motorcycle retailers (many of which are owned by the same one umbrella company) that throw big marketing budgets into content creation. Time will tell whether that’s a good or a bad thing.
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Unfortunately for American Iron magazine, their time has come. COVID-19 meant their advertising income crashed as advertisers pulled out of the magazine. The timing of the virus, just in the build-up to riding season, couldn’t have been worse for a motorcycle industry that seems like it still hasn’t fully covered to what it was before the recession hit in 2009.
American Iron tried to reduce page count and content in their magazines, but all that leads to is motorcyclists spending the same money to get less, which should never be an option and can only carry you for so long. From Buzz Kanter, Editor in Chief of American Iron: “Rather than watch our magazines decline even further, we have suspended publication as we explore our options.”
This quote from Buzz is interesting. It flirts with the idea that this may not be the end of American Iron, that their might be some other way, like, oh, I don’t know, a website like this one, or a YouTube channel like this one. But he goes on to say: “Rather than dwell on the end of our magazines, I hope you’ll join us remembering your favorite articles, writers, photographers and events that we have enjoyed over the years.” Which doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence in the future of American Iron.
Personally, I’ve always taken issue with a lot of motorcycle magazines. I wrote about it in the article In a World of Alternative Facts, Should You Trust Your Motorcycle Magazine? where I shared my experiences dealing with some motorcycle magazines from my time working in the industry and seeing just how much magazines counted on advertising revenue from motorcycle manufacturers, and just how much they were willing to promise those manufacturers in exchange for the money. But, I’ve had no experiences with American Iron, and it’s always a sad day to see another motorcycle publication close their doors.
Hopefully American Iron will find some way to land on their feet, in a different shape or form. You don’t get to 30 years in the motorcycle publishing scene without doing a lot of things right. Best of luck to Buzz and all of his team.
Ride safe everyone!