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press release 01-Jun-2002

DURP.COM discontinues

Kirchheim-Heimstetten, June 2002: The worldwide popular webzine WWW.DURP.COM (webzine for Symphonic Rock/Metal, Progressive Rock/Metal, Hardrock and Melodic Heavy Metal) discontinues it's work after five successful years of hard work on Juni 01, 2002. The website will stay online ... but there won't be any updates (CD-Shop, News, Interviews, Links, Premium, Reviews ). The DURP CD-Shop stays open until all CDs are sold out.

The DURP's story of success

I always thought of DURP as a 100% professional online magazine ... and this is how it was started and maintained. A professionally hosted RedHatLinux server, the most professional open source database system (PostgreSQL) and the flexible web application programming language PHP enabled us to get most of the work down by more than 20 daily scripts which were started automatically (cronjobs). The author(s) only had to write their texts ... nobody had to care about HTML while writing reviews, review-nofification-emails were automatically sent out to labels/bands, links to audiosamples were checked regularly, pages were (re)generated daily, the monthly newsletter was assembled and mailed of automatically, Review/Interview-HTML-files were generated and inserted into the datbase automatically, premium accounts were checked at night and the most things could be administered in a web frontend ... If you ever asked yourself "How can one or two men do such a big webzine on their own" you now have the answers.

For many years I was annoyed by reviews, whose superficialness and/or label-goodwill-nature led to purchases of bad albums. This dissapointment turned into motivation in 1997 ... in the summer of 1997 a page called "album reviewpage" was founded. This was the result of my idea to creating a homepage project with reviews for progressive rock/metal. In May 1998 the concept of the Website was completely revised - the DURP Site (http://www.durp.com/) was born.

DURP layout, summer 1998 DURP layout, summer 1998

Due to her ambition, honesty and quickly established contacts to underground bands / labels / homepages / fans and because of the foundation of the german progrock/progmetal webring "Prog Teutonicum" the DURP became the pioneering force of the reformation of the splintered German Prog Internet scenery. Bands and fans got in contact, concerts were organized and similar homepages were created by fans and fan communities.

For the additional support of bands, which were still in the demo stage and/or searching for a suitable label, the DURP started another exemplary project in August 1998: the DURP Compilation series "Progressive DisDURPance" - consisting of the best demo material - was started by "Progressive DisDURPance Vol.1".

DURP layout, fall 1998 DURP layout, fall 1998

Vol.2 was published in April 1999 and the third edition was released in summer 2000. I produced these compilations as professionally as possible and sent out promos to lots of international magazines, fanzines, webzines and labels of the progrock/progmetal/metal scene. The CDs could/can be ordered online in our CD shop. The success of Vol. 1 and Vol.2 was overwhelming for me. The compilations got positive to overwhelming reviews in the international press and the monthly website visits increased by 34 times between the release of Vol.1 and Vol.2

DURP layout, spring 1999 DURP layout, spring 1999

As the german prog landscape continued splintering the DURP joined forces with Renald Mienert's website "Tales from the progressive ocean" in September 1999 ... the reviewpage DURP became the webzine "DURP - Tales from the progressive ocean".

DURP layout, autumn 1999 DURP layout, autumn 1999

"Progressive DisDURPance Vol.3", the last and most professional DURP Compilation was released in summer 2000. The CD contains 73 minutes of high quality progressive music of all blends from 15 international bands, including two previously unreleased tracks of canadian band Mystery and US-based Salem Hill. Like the preceding compilations Vol.3 was digitally mastered at the Spice Recording Studios near Munich leading to great sound quality and an uniform sounds of the 15 totally differently recorded tracks. For the artwork I was able to license a great work of the well-known fantasy artist Larry Elmore. The booklet is stuffed with information on every band including contact information. It's quite natural that the international press called the DisDURPance series "extraordinary and ambitious compilations containing high quality music, great sound and beautiful artwork". With the release of Vol.3 the DURP website was redesigned again and now offered professional layout and an outstanding technical level.

DURP layout, spring 2000, spring 2001 (premium) DURP layout, spring 2000, spring 2001 (premium)

The layout was enhanced in January 2002 when DURP introduced a membership-area ... called DURP-Premium. With a annual fee of 18 EUR premium members got access to current reviews/interviews, the review archive, audiosamples and members could choose wether they wanted 10% discount or a free CD with every order. The premium area featured a monthly contest with CD-giveaways, a special CD-Discount-Shop as well as the sections "CD of the month" (with review, audiosample and the possibility to order the CD) and "Band of the month" (with review, interview, audiosample, bandhistory, contact info and the possibility to order the CD).

Progressive DisDURPance Compilations
Progressive DisDURPance Vol.3
Progressive DisDURPance Vol. 3
 
Audiosample:MP3,
RealAudio
Bands from: USA, Germany, Kanada
Netherlands, Finnland, UK
Produced by:DURP, 2000
Premastered by:Spice Recording Studios
Artwork by:DURP, Larry Elmore, DTP-Factory
Press comments:[pdf]
Progressive DisDURPance Vol.2
Progressive DisDURPance Vol.2
 
Audiosample:MP3,
RealAudio
Bands from:Netherlands, Germany, Sweden,
USA, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia
Produced by:DURP, 1999
Premastered von:Spice Recording Studios
Artwork by:DURP, Stephanie Law, DTP-Factory
Press comments:[pdf]
Progressive DisDURPance Vol.1
Progressive DisDURPance Vol.1
 
Audiosample:MP3,
RealAudio
Bands from:Germany
Produced by:DURP, 1998
Premastered by:Spice Recording Studios
Artwork by:DURP
Press comments:[pdf]

Facts of DURP's success:

  • more than 700 customers from all over the world (primarily Germany and Central Europe, USA)

  • from 1999 to 2002 more than 80 different Underground productions (each 10-20 items) in the CD-Shop

  • more than 70 label/record company contacts from all over the world

  • more than 10 contacts to central european promotion companies, in addition: contacts to some international ones

  • more than 170 contacts to national and international media partners (print mags, webzines, underground radio stations, organizers)

  • more than 308 personal contacts to bands from all over the world

  • more than 700 promotional copies of DIsDURPance sent out the media partners

  • sale/promotion of DURP-CDs on more than 25 festivals/concerts in Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland

  • Co-Organization of Progrock-Convention 2000, taking place at Nilkheimer Park/Aschaffenburg

  • 184 verified reviews of DURP Compilations in print/online magazines in D, AT, CH, FI, SE, NO, NL, BE, FR, LU, GB, GR, IT, SP, SLOV, RO, RU, USA, BRAZ, JP

  • 35 verified airplays of DURP-Compilation songs at radiostations in NL, GR, USA, SP, BE, D, RO, IT, SLOV, LUX, PT inklusive zweier DURP-Sondersendungen

  • several features / interviews about DURP.COM (4 international print zines in USA + GB + D, 1 webzine USA)

  • DURP website consists of more than 3800 files (incl. programs, scripts and images)

  • more than 1200 weblinks to bands, labels, media

  • some of the bands featured on DisDURPance now have label deals, most bands became much more popular in the scene

  • more than 1400 subscribers of the monthly email newsletter

  • more than 65 members in the german prog webring "Prog Teutonicum"

  • 1460 reviews (average number of reviews per year: 240))

  • 230 interviews

  • Website statistics - Visits to www.durp.com:
    • 1997: 1.265
    • 1998: 5.575
    • 1999: 43.696
    • 2000: 163.190
    • 2001: 162.654
    • 2002: 102.841 (1.Jan - 1.Oct)
    • total: more than 479.221 visits
      (half a million visits from 1997 to end of 2002)


The DURP discontinues as Germany's and Central Europe's leading open minded webzine for progressive Rock/Metal.

The negative considerations for the end of the DURP era

In the years of her history the DURP has achieved nearly everything that could be achieved in a small music niche like progrock/progmetal. After 6 years there weren't many challenges left for me ... and the few ones that are left don't make sense if I compare expenditure and profit.

The unreadiness of internet users to pay for hard journalstic work (which was done in the evenings and on most weekends), to pay for a professional webzine and to pay for three high quality compilation CDs by a small monthly fee were another reason for my lack of motivation. The first years of DURP (with DisDURPance Vol.1 and Vol.2) have torn a medium financial hole in my wallet. Since January 2001 DURP was able to cover it's expenses and at the end of the year there even was some money left ... but still it was not worth sacrificiny three evenings a week and one entire weekend per month. I'd like to point out that the DURP was the first online music magazin I know which tried to charge a small fee for additional value and some extra benefits. Many visitors have sent me emails like "oh, you want money for some parts of DURP ... nice try ... I won't visit your website again ... it's not worth to pay a single cent" ... for those people I have one message: With this attitude you'll kill all professional webzines because you run such a webzine three years by enthusiasm and then you become tired and want to have at least some financial benefit for the hard work you do. Hopefully you think of DURP in a few years when it's quite normal to pay for good content. And by the way ... do you pay for a print magazine or do you ask your local dealer to give you the magazine for free, otherwise you'll read your magazines somewhere else ?

Another problem is the flood of mediocre (or bad) compilations CDs, given away with nearly every magazine. Most music fans nowadays think, that compilations are low cost give-aways and that compilations only contain two or three good songs. The readiness of people to pay a fair price for a compilation CD has decreased extremly fast during the past two years ... even regarding well produced, well designed and very ambitious compilation CDs like "DisDURPance". In the meantime I have got many emails "hey, I'm buying a pig in a poke" or "a compilation contains three good tracks at maximum" ... with this attitude it's no use to continue such a high quality compilation series.

The bad world econimical situation of 2002 did hit the credit card clearing companies as well (in our case Eurocard and Visa) ... and so they simply cancelled our contract (and the contracts of several thousand other german small businesses). 80% of our german, and 100% of our "foreign" customers payed by creditcard ... and so we would loose 95% of our sales income ... this was another downturn on our motivation. If this is the way how big business enablers and politics treat enthusiastic small/freetime-businesses then running such a small business does not make much sense anymore.

Another reason was the lack of time for Markus and temporaly big problems concerning Markus's health ... it was a hard decision to sacrifice the DURP but hey ... how would you decide when your body tells you: "Care more about me instead of rotting more than 11 hours a day in front of the f$%#ing computer" !? On the long run it surely was the only possible solution ... both for health and the way DURP how stays in our memories.

Anf of course we were ripped by several credit card betrayers ... even now in the final days of DURP while we sell the CDs for a special price and give away free bonus CDs ... but fortunately 95% percent of our customers is nice and honest.

The positive considerations for the end of the DURP era

But hey ... the story does not end sad ... it ends with respect, hope and success ! The five years of DURP have brought me many things: nice people (some of them are good friends now ... 6 points, Wolfgang !!!), international partners and customers, lots of hours with great music, nice concerts, lots of useful experiences concering online-journalism and webserver administration.

The DURP has got lots of praise and compliments and of course I had to fight a few email-wars, too. Want some examples ? Ok ... years ago when I released "DisDURPance Vol.1" ... you remember the CD-cover ... the german eagle like it's the current emblem printed on german EURO coins ... the eagle was assembled on an electric guitar because there were only german bands on this compilation. OK, it was not a great idea ;-) but anyway ... one day I received an email saying "If you are nazis I will tread on your dick ... what about another CD cover ... an SS skull with crossed guitars ?". Atter a few emails this discussion ended conciliatorily.
Oh yes ... I have to think of some bands, one of them consisting of adult men (above 30 years) who were neither able to play nor to sing ... my review was not that hard like it should have been ... it was honest but still constructive. This review brought up another hot email discussion because the band members really thought that the review would destroy their career and the work of their life ... like small children.
And of course I have some great credit card friends out there. One guy from Jugoslavia wanted to order one item of every CD in stock, paying per creditcard. Hey what would you do if one guy orders every CD available, wants to pay by creditcard, his surname is Milosevic and with a hotmail email address ? I checked the credit card at by phone at Mastercard and of course ... the card was stolen. I told the customer by email, that we could not process his credit card, that he should not use stolen credit card numbers and that he can pay by euro-cheque, cash on delivery or cash. He simply replied: "Kiss my a.. , smoke my d...,asshole". Seems like the new millenium is not what it is supposed to be ;-)

The number of monthly visitors steadily increased and reached their climax in early 2002 ... exactly like the arrival of promotional copies from bands, labels and promoters. As I wanted to change some priorities in my life, I have thought of discontinuing the DURP several times before. In late spring 2002 the time was right to discontinue the DURP ... the DURP was at climax and as DURP started as a shining star of hope for many bands and fans it was important for me to let the DURP remain a shining star in the memories of the progressive scenery. And this would not have been possible with a slowy dying DURP. So the cut had to be made quick and fast. The DURP has succeeded in reuniting the splintered progressive landscape ... in the meantime many other prog websites were creating in DURP's lee, fans are organizing festivals, many bands became more popular by our work, some of them have found a good label. Carrying on with DURP would only have been possible by either less updates (would not have been very professional) or by trespassing against the main principles that were constituted when I started the DURP project (would not have been very honest).

I want you to always think of DURP as an ambitous project that was able to show that you can make parts of the world a better place by idealism, common sense and zest for action. And this is the mission for all of you fans, labels, media partners and bands ... continue your work and hold up your dedication to music !!

I have lots of plans for my future life and the time after DURP ... doing something else than sitting in front of the PC after returning from my daily work, caring about my linux network at home, meeting with friends, travelling around, simply listening to the music I love (which was not possible for the past 3 years) ... just bringing in some fresh air into my life. I don't know if I'll ever do something music-related again ... time will tell. And by the way ... I never was a progger ... I always have been a metalhead with a metalheart in his chest and a few people might know, that metalhearts listen to there heart and whenever they think it's time to spread the wings ... they listen to their heart, stick to their decisions and ... fly like an eagle.

Farewell

DURP wants to thank all bands, business partners, media partners (especially True Music, SPV and Flying Dolphin ... you were great !!!), readers, customers and freelancers for their long-time support and cooperation. I'm proud of what we've achieved with your help and I'll always think of the DURP-time as a great and highly interesting time of my life !

So keep on rocking, keep on rollin', keep on moving, stay progressive, stay heavy and raise the fist of the metal child,

Markus

PS: If there's anything you want to tell us concerning the discontinuation of DURP then please use our guestbook.



© 1997-2002  D.U.R.P. - http://www.durp.com/
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