Musician (magazine)

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Categories Music magazine
Frequency Monthly
Founder Sam Holdsworth and Gordon Baird
First issue October, 1976
Final issue 1999
Country United States
Language English
ISSN 0733-5253

Musician (1976–1999) was a monthly magazine that covered news and information about American popular music. Initially called Music America, it was founded in 1976 by Sam Holdsworth and Gordon Baird. The two friends borrowed $20,000 from relatives and started the publication in a barn in Colorado.[1]

Subtitled "The Art, Business and Technology of Making Music", it became known for its extended and thorough articles about the stars of rock music. Musician was not intended to be a fan magazine—the founders envisioned it as a publication about the musician's craft, and as a result, it earned it the respect of people in the music business.[1] As Holdsworth told an interviewer in 2003, the magazine "...created a level of trust that made the musicians feel they were talking with peers".[2] In that same article, he noted that Musician was also known for finding out the little things that the average magazine did not—such as why a musician chose a particular brand of instrument, or what was the inspiration for a certain song.

But Musician never gained a wide following, although it had a devoted base of fans. The magazine was respected by the critics for the quality of the writers—among the best known writers for Musician were rock critic Lester Bangs and soon-to-be film director Cameron Crowe.[2] Due to the expense of running it, Holdsworth and Baird sold it in 1982, to the company that owned Billboard magazine; but Holdsworth and another company executive bought it back in 1985 and they ran it until selling it again in 1987.[3]

Holdsworth did more than just sell his magazine to Billboard : he went to work there, eventually rising to the position of Executive Vice President and Publishing Director of parent company Billboard Publications Inc. (BPI), then located in New York City. He ran their publishing group until 1991. His sale of the company made him millions.[1] In 2000, he became CEO of Rykodisc, a Massachusetts-based independent record company. He retired from that position in 2008, and has remained in Massachusetts, where he had moved in 1981. He currently lives in Gloucester with his wife and three children. He has become a well-known local artist, and some of his paintings have been displayed in museums.[4]


  1. ^ a b Geoff Edgers, "Artist is bitten by desire to put greenheads on canvas", Boston Globe, July 20, 2008.
  2. ^ Ken Gordon. "A Great One Remembered: Musician", Folio, November 2003.
  3. ^ Liza Frenette. "BPI's Entertainment Architect", Folio, June 1989.
  4. ^ Cate McQuaid, "Critters large and small - and no need for bug spray" The Boston Globe, July 20, 2008.