Troubadour Title
Subtitle Michigan Ontario Barbershop News Pioneer District Barbershop Harmony Society
January 2008                ArchiveAdsSubmissions Links          Online Edition #1

The New Troub

When the count didn't come out right it was discovered they were the wrong labels and had to all be redone.  The Troubadour apologizes to the Bush League organizers and anyone else for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

But there's a bigger difficulty for the publication, money.  The 'free' issues are paid for with membership dues and advertising but the cost to produce issues has been rising faster.  This has caused a gradual reduction in the number of issues published per year from 6 to 4. 

And then another blow, because Pioneer District membership dues are not paid directly to the Pioneer District but through the Barbershop Harmony Society, the United States Postal Service decided to pull the Troubadour's temporary non-profit discounted 2nd Class mailing status. 

What to do?  Most districts have gone to using the internet to distribute publications online while reducing or eliminating entirely their printed publications.  The Pioneer District leadership has expressed a desire to have printed publications available for non-internet users and for those who simply enjoy reading off paper and keeping their Troubadour library collection current.  Copies of the Troubadour have
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What's Up With The Troub?
(click image for website)

by Editor Michael Bairbeau
Did you see the Troubadour print issue Aug/Sep '07 with the Bush League competition invitation as the front page headline?  Did you notice it was after the competition had already been held and wondered, 'what's up with that'?  And what about the decline in the number of issues per year?  I know I sure was puzzled so my first job as the new Troubadour editor was to get up to speed on the wonderful world of subscription publishing. 

Our previous Editor Joe Serwach and Marketing PR guy Rick Anderson have been a big help explaining it all.  First thing I learned is that there's some great people who volunteer a lot of their time doing a demanding job to get the Troubadour out and deserve a tip from our collective straw hats. 

As to the Bush League question there was a snafu with the membership mailing labels received from the Barbershop Harmony Society that go onto the printed copies. 

been available online for some time as pdf files thanks to District Webmaster Steve Sutherland but those online copies were only available when the printed versions were completed and ready for mailing. 

So, we're going to reverse the process.  We're putting out a monthly online publication not constrained by mailing costs or the volume of articles and then, pending the results of the District's Troubadour survey, consolidate those top stories for a printed quarterly or triannual version.  It's possible the printed publications will no longer be free and will have a subscription fee for those who want to continue receiving them.  The price will be kept at a minimum, offset with advertising both in print and online and membership dues.  The details are still pending, as some surveys have not been returned yet.  The next printed publication will probably include details for continuing the subscription. 

Okay, so it's both exciting and disconcerting.  We all liked getting that familiar Troubadour issue in the mail as part of the membership and not have to worry about it.  But we have delayed this change for as long as possible and need to adapt like other Districts have in order for the Troubadour to survive and thrive.  

UPDATE Aug 16, 2008

*'To reiterate update since the online article, we are currently submitting monthly Troubadour issues online, eTroubs, which are then consolidated into biannual editions for the print Troubadour publication sent to all members and paid by member dues and ads'. Survey results from Rick Anderson. 1. Would an electronic newsletter serve your needs? Yes, 69%. No, 31%. 2. Would you be willing to pay more to the district for a printed newsletter? Yes, 7%. No, 93%. 3. Do you have internet access? Yes, 74%. No, 26%. 4. Do you have an e-mail account? Yes, 74%. No, 26%. Additionally Pioneer has 1736 members 2008. 462 of them, or 26.6%, didn't list an e-mail addresses.