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As New Orleans music goes, so goes OffBeat Magazine in the COVID-19 economy

With no live music to promote because of the coronavirus shutdown and music festivals on hold, advertising revenue dried up.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — The beat goes on at Offbeat Magazine. 

But it’s been a rocky few months financially for the magazine. 

“We don’t really have a lot of money coming in,” said Offbeat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jan Ramsey . 

Offbeat chronicles the music scene in New Orleans and the region's culture and cuisine. 

Ramsey said with no live music to promote because of the coronavirus shutdown and music festivals on hold, advertising revenue dried up.  

Offbeat has been online only since March. 

“I’m looking for every way possible to keep the magazine going because I think it’s important,” Ramsey said. “I’d love to have it out there on the racks, right now it’s not feasible.” 

Offbeat is also giving up its perch above Frenchmen Street in the Marigny, the Crescent City’s live music corridor. 

The second-floor office above the Louisiana Music Factory has been the magazine’s home for close to 25 years. 

“We’ve seen the entire landscape of Frenchmen Street change from sort of an insiders hidden gem to Bourbon Street junior,” Ramsey said. 

Offbeat won’t be going far. Soon, they’ll be moving to smaller office space about a block away, inside the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade in the French Quarter. 

Museum director Greg Lambousy called the arrangement a perfect fit. 

“The museum focuses on exhibits, education and performance,” Lambousy said. “It’s all about jazz and New Orleans music and so is Offbeat.” 

Lambousy added it’s important for Offbeat to continue its mission. 

“New Orleans musicians need a mechanism to be able to get information out about what they’re doing, their new releases, being able to market themselves,” Lambousy said.  

The magazine is now posting new digital content every day on OffBeat.com. Some of the stories require a paid subscription to the site. 

“I struggled with that for a long time because it’s always been free, but it’s a matter of necessity,” Ramsey said. “The website has been our main conduit, that and our Weekly Beat newsletter.” 

Ramsey admits, in this virtual new world, she misses the face-to-face contact with New Orleans musicians.  

“We tell stories,” Ramsey said. “So that’s what I miss. I miss hearing those stories. Why and how people make music and what’s happened to them.” 

Ramsey says if the city can somehow get back to live music and festivals a print version of Offbeat Magazine may make a comeback as well. 

Offbeat is having a moving sale. 

Next Monday, November 9, from noon to 4:30 p.m., the magazine will be selling books, posters, furniture, musical memorabilia and more. 

The address is 421 Frenchmen Street, Suite 200 in New Orleans.  

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