Tuned staff 'hung out to dry' as title closes

Staff of an independent music monthly claim they have been ‘hung out to dry’after management closed the title without warning this month.

Leander Gloversmith, editor of Tuned – published by Bradford-based IF Publishing – said that the company had refused to confirm if it had gone into liquidation or filed for bankruptcy. It has left the editorial team unpaid for the last month’s work.

Gloversmith said: ‘I have asked twice via email to either provide proof that it is bankrupt, or to honour our payments, but I have had no response.

‘We didn’t even get a thanks for the hard work and there was no warning. We have been hung out to dry.”

Tuned was launched in April this year by IF Publishing and was distributed across the country in stores including HMV, Borders and most recently WH Smiths.

Gloversmith told Press Gazette that staff were close to completing issue nine when they received a memo from IF saying the magazine had stopped trading with immediate effect. The memo, sent to all five members of staff, cited poor sales figures, lack of support from business in terms of advertising and promotion, and poor communication levels within the production of the magazine, website and future objectives as reasons for closing.

Gloversmith said that he had not been made aware of these problems. When he approached IF Publishing, he was told the staff will not be paid because there was ‘no money’to pay them.

Neither Gloversmith nor other members of staff signed a contract of employment, which Gloversmith admits was naïve. For the first five issues Gloversmith ran the magazine singlehandedly, relying on the aid of friends and freelancers, but eventually he convinced the publisher to employ more members of staff.

Alex Gregory, pictures and reviews editor, started off working for free for the title, but took up a full-time position two months ago. He said: ‘We didn’t know much about IF, but it didn’t deter us because we thought everyone had to start somewhere.”

IF Publishing was unavailable for comment at time of going to press.

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