High Fidelity (magazine)

Last updated
High Fidelity
Circulation 327,000 at closure in 1989
FounderMilton B. Sleeper
Year founded1951
First issueApril 1951 (1951-04)
Final issueJuly 1989
  • Audiocom, Inc. (1951–1957)
  • Billboard Publications, Inc. (1957–1974)
  • ABC Consumer Magazines (1974–1989)
Country United States
Based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
ISSN 0018-1455

High Fidelity was an American magazine that was published from April 1951 until July 1989 and was a source of information about high fidelity audio equipment, video equipment, audio recordings, and other aspects of the musical world, such as music history, biographies, and anecdotal stories by or about noted performers.


Great Barrington, Massachusetts-based High Fidelity magazine was original founded as a quarterly publication in 1951 by audiophile Milton B. Sleeper. [1] [2] [3] [4] One of the first editors was Charles Fowler. [1] Later, the publication became a monthly and Fowler became the publisher.

In 1957, High Fidelity and its sister publication Audiocraft were acquired by Billboard Publications, Inc., when it purchased High Fidelity's parent company, Audiocom, Inc. from Audiocom's president and publisher Charles Fowler. [5] [6]

After 16 years of ownership, Billboard sold High Fidelity in 1974, along with its sister publication Modern Photography , to the magazine division of the American Broadcasting Companies for $9 million. [7] [8] At the time of the sale, High Fidelity and Modern Photography had circulations of 260,000 and 470,000 respectively.

Until 1981, its editorial offices were located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In January of that year, its parent company, ABC Consumer Magazines, began moving the publication's operations to New York City, a process that was completed in about a year. In 1989, ABC sold High Fidelity and its sister publication Modern Photography to Diamandis Communications (now Hachette Filipacchi Media), which merged its subscriber list with that of Stereo Review magazine. [9] [10] (Stereo Review transformed into the present Sound and Vision magazine in 2000.) High Fidelity and Modern Photography had circulations of 327,000 and 689,000 respectively by the time these magazines were shut down by Diamandis.

Musical America

While as a subsidiary of Billboard Publications, High Fidelity purchased Musical America in 1964 and incorporated the newly acquired publication as an additional insert to selected editions of High Fidelity that were mailed to subscribers who had paid an additional fee. [11] [12] During this time, the Musical America was not available in the copies of High Fidelity that were sold at newsstands, but only in certain copies available only by subscription. This business arrangement continued after High Fidelity was sold to ABC Consumer Magazines in 1974.

ABC continued this publishing arrangement until 1986 when ABC decided it needed to revive Musical America as a separate monthly publication [13] (which later became bimonthly) to fight back against the loss of readership caused by the foundation of a new competing classic music publication by James R. Oestreich called Opus. Oestreich was a former High Fidelity classic music editor who was fired in 1983 for protesting the cutbacks in classic music coverage in the joint High Fidelity/Musical America publication. [14] In protest to Oestreich dismissal, several noted classic music editors resigned in mass to eventually join Oestreich at his new publication.

The reintroduction of the first separate issue of Musical America in 1987 was mishandled by ABC since ABC did not provide copies for distribution at newsstands in many major cities. [15] Although Musical America's tenure at ABC was not very impressive, [16] it avoided High Fidelity's fate of being sold to Diamandis and remained with ABC until 1991 when it was sold to media investor Gerry M. Ritterman. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

ProQuest distributor of eBooks and other digital media

ProQuest LLC is an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based global information-content and technology company, founded in 1938 as University Microfilms by Eugene B. Power. ProQuest provides applications and products for libraries.

Bell Biv DeVoe American band

Bell Biv DeVoe, also known as BBD, is an American music group formed from members of New Edition, consisting of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe.

<i>Spin</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Spin is an American music magazine founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. The magazine stopped running in print in 2012 and currently runs as a webzine, owned by NEXT Management.

Robert Spano is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and music director-designate of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Sound & Vision is an American magazine, purchased by AVTech Media Ltd. (UK) in March 2018, covering home theater, audio, video and multimedia consumer products. Before 2000, it had been published for most of its history as Stereo Review. The magazine is headquartered in New York City.

<i>Guitarist</i> (magazine)

Guitarist is a British monthly music making magazine published by Future plc. It is the longest-established European guitar magazine, and is currently the biggest-selling guitar magazine in the UK. The magazine's current editor is Jamie Dickson, who has been in charge since late-2013. Each issue covers three areas: reviews, interview and technique. This may include reviews of newly released guitars, amplifiers and other equipment; interviews with famous and up-and-coming guitar players; and features on the guitar industry, news articles, playing technique with tablature. Guitarist's slogan was previously "The Guitar Player's Bible", before changing in 2012 to "The Guitar Magazine". In the June 2014 edition, Guitarist celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

Audio Fidelity Records

Audio Fidelity Records, was a record company based in New York City, most active during the 1950s and 1960s. They are best known for having produced the first mass-produced American stereophonic long-playing record in November 1957.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American magazine and website that produces news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style related to the music industry. It is known for its music charts, including the Hot 100, Billboard 200 and Global 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

<i>Audio</i> (magazine)

Audio magazine was a periodical published from 1947 to 2000, and was America's longest-running audio magazine. Audio published reviews of audio products and audio technology as well as informational articles on topics such as acoustics, psychoacoustics and the art of listening. Audio claimed to be the successor of Radio magazine which was established in 1917.

<i>The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1</i> 1978 greatest hits album by Earth, Wind & Fire

The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 is an album by the band Earth, Wind & Fire issued in 1978 by Columbia Records. The album rose to Nos. 3 & 6 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums and Billboard 200 charts respectively. The album has been certified Quintuple Platinum in the US by the RIAA, as well as Platinum in the UK and Canada, by the BPI and Music Canada, respectively.

Marina Diamandis Welsh singer-songwriter

Marina Lambrini Diamandis, known mononymously as Marina and previously by the stage name Marina and the Diamonds, is a Welsh singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer.

Musical America is the oldest American magazine on classical music, first appearing in 1898 in print and in 1999 online, at musicalamerica.com. It is published by Performing Arts Resources, LLC, of East Windsor, New Jersey.

The Music Trades is a 130-year-old American trade magazine that covers a broad spectrum of music and music commerce, domestically and abroad. The magazine was founded in New York City in 1890 and, since the mid-1970s, has been based in Englewood, New Jersey. The Music Trades is one of the longest-running, without interruption, trade publications in the world. The May 2021 issue — Vol. 169, No. 4 — is approximately the three thousand and ninety-seventh issue. A controlling ownership over the last 91 years — seventy percent of the publication's total age — has been held by three generations of the Majeski family, making it among the few current publications of any ilk that has been closely held by a single family for as long a period.

James Ruben Oestreich is a classical music critic for The New York Times, where he has written about music since 1989. He grew up in Wisconsin.

Opus was an American magazine that featured critical reviews of classical music recordings. Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the magazine ran bimonthly from November/December 1984 to March/April 1988, publishing 21 issues. James R. Oestreich was its editor-in-chief. Historical Times, Inc., of Harrisburg was its owner. Warren Bertram Syer (1923–2007), who had published High Fidelity for 30 years, was then the president of Historical Times.

<i>Emerge</i> (magazine)

Emerge was a monthly news magazine that was published from 1989 to 2000. Its primary focus was on issues of interest to African Americans. In 2000, Time said Emerge was "the nation's best black newsmagazine for the past seven years" the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described it as "the premier source for intellectual discussion on issues affecting African-Americans", and the New York Amsterdam News wrote that "it had no rival for cutting edge news for and about the Black community". The magazine was headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Manet Harrison Fowler

Manet Harrison Fowler was an American musician, dramatic soprano, artist, voice coach, piano teacher, conductor, music educator and midwife. She was a child prodigy, giving piano recitals at the age of six. A native of Fort Worth, Texas she founded the Mwalimu School for the development of African Music and Creative Art in 1928 and relocated to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. She was President of the Texas Association of Negro Musicians (TANM), the first state branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians.

Devora Nadworney

Devora Nadworney was an American operatic contralto singer.

<i>Modern Photography</i> 20th-century American photo magazine

Modern Photography was a popular American photo magazine published and internationally distributed for 52 years from New York City. An unrelated Modern Photography magazine was published in Taiwan from 1976.

<i>Outline</i> (album) 1979 studio album by Gino Soccio

Outline is the debut album by Gino Soccio, released in 1979 on RFC Records, a Warner Bros. Records disco subsidiary run by Ray Caviano.


  1. 1 2 "Ad for High-Fidelity magazine". Popular Mechanics . 96 (6). December 1951. p. 35. ISSN   0032-4558.
  2. Anderson, Tim Jay (1998). Lost in sound: Cultural-material issues in American recorded music and sound, 1948-1964 (Ph.D.). Northwestern University. pp. 305–306. OCLC   50420754. Again, take for example the number of feature articles that High Fidelity ran in its first few years of publication. As the first commercial magazine printed for the pleasures of the amateur and professional audiophile, High-Fidelity was established in the summer of 1951 with the intent of being a quarterly, but within a few years demand was great enough to force it through the stage of bi-monthly publication, and finally into monthly editions. As the editor, Milton B. Sleeper, claimed, High Fidelity was "devoted to your interests in 'the sense of hearing,'" emphasizing topics ranging from in-home record audio equipment, records worth mentioning and, of course, FM radio. Link via ProQuest.
  3. Marshall, Christy & Selvin, Barbara (May 25, 1989). "Diamandis Buys, Will Fold 2 Mags". Newsday (New York ed.). p. 51. High Fidelity was started by a radio and audio aficionado named Milton Sleeper. ABC bought Modern Photography, High Fidelity and Musical America, from Billboard Publications in Manhattan in 1974 for $12 million. ABC is keeping Musical America. Link via ProQuest.
  4. Ziesmann, Jeffrey K. "Milton B Sleeper". American Radio History.
  5. "High Fidelity Magazines Join Billboard Fold". Billboard . 69 (43). November 25, 1957. pp. 1, 25. ISSN   0006-2510. Billboard Publishing Company bought Audiocom, Inc., owner of High Fidelity and Audiocraft. Charles Fowler president and publisher Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  6. "2 Music Papers Merge: High Fidelity and Billboard Will Retain Present Format" . New York Times . November 27, 1957. p. 26. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  7. "ABC Plans to Purchase 2 Consumer Magazines As Base of New Unit" . Wall Street Journal . June 21, 1974. p. 13. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  8. "Media Briefs" . Los Angeles Times . June 23, 1974. p. E10. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  9. "Diamandis Acquires 2 Magazines". New York Times . May 25, 1989.
  10. "Hachette Unit Buys High Fidelity, Modern Photography Subscriber Lists". Associated Press . May 24, 1989.
  11. "Classical Music: BB's High Fidelity Buys Musical America". Billboard . 76 (47). November 21, 1964. p. 16. Link via ProQuest.
  12. "Musical America Magazine Sold; To Run as Part of High Fidelity" . New York Times . November 10, 1964. p. 57. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  13. Page, Tim (November 2, 1986). "Music Notes; Championing the Music of Today". New York Times . p. A.23. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  14. Page, Tim (October 5, 1983). "Music Editor Dismissed". New York Times .
  15. Reich, Howard (March 15, 1987). "A Classic Newsstand Tale Of Woe". Chicago Tribune . p. 24. The most eagerly anticipated "new" classical music magazine in America went into print this month, but it's impossible to buy a copy in Chicago... or New York or Los Angeles. Musical America, for years published inside High Fidelity magazine, went to a free-standing format for its March issue--unfortunately, the magazine never made it to the newsstands. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  16. Page, Tim (December 18, 1990). "Now Musical America Is For Sale: Bad Times for The Classical Music Press". Newsday . p. 59. In recent years, however, Musical America has often been hard to find. From 1964 to 1986, the magazine was available only as an insert in special subscription editions of High Fidelity. (In 1983, High Fidelity had an estimated circulation of 400,000; at that time only one issue in 20 carried Musical America.) In 1986, Musical America was again cut loose from High Fidelity. At first a monthly, then a bimonthly, it never caught on at the newsstands, in part because of the unusually high price - $6 - that was set for the slim magazine. The new, independent Musical America expanded its coverage and began to run recordings reviews. Link via ProQuest.
  17. Kozinn, Allan (April 3, 1991). "Musical America Magazine Announces Reorganization". New York Times .