About Phonotonal

Back in 2002, we started out as [the-mag] a printed local music magazine covering unsigned bands and artists on independent labels. We launched the website in 2003 and over the course of five years, we became the biggest independent and alternative music magazine on The Web (src Alexa). Yes, we literally won The Internet. You can read about our early exploits on Wikipedia.

In 2019, we re-branded to Phonotonal and began the process of bringing over all the archive material from our old in-house content management platform.

The Phonotonal team cover music across many genres, review fiction, and comment on culture and sub-culture. Most of the content is self-sourced (we actively go out to find new stuff). We occasionally invite artists that we’ve covered to share their suggestions for new music.

  • Live Music Returns

    Thank goodness!

    We were delighted to get back out to see bands live, including Pale Waves, Jimmy Eat World, Skunk Anansie, Beabadoobee, and Wet Leg

    Pale Waves

    We also discovered new releases from bands and artists across the UK and USA.

  • Lockdown

    The era of four walls!

    While shut inside, the archive of articles was prepared for upload. We also found some time to discover a handful of new bands and artists and to expand into culture and book reviews.

  • Phonotonal

    We’re back!

    The magazine is revived with a new name and a new broader mission, covering music, fiction, and culture. The first book review was published.


  • Hit Pause

    In 2012, The Mag closed down the PO Box and stopped actively operating.

    The Last The Mag Logo

  • Demo Stacked

    The sacks filled with demos overwhelm the team. Original 106 presenter Xan Phillips hosts the second Mag Awards show with amazing performances from the winners selected by the readers.

    The Mag Awards 2007

  • The Mag Awards

    The magazine was assigned a PO Box and started to receive post sacks filled with demos. In July, they presented an awards show at The Talking Heads in Southampton to celbrate the reader-voted winners of The Mag Awards, hosted by Grant Sharkey and sponsored by Jägermeister. The event was covered on the BBC and on local radio. Xan Phillips played songs from the winners on his Original 106 radio show.

    The Mag Awards 2007

  • Winning the Internet

    The team writes over 500 articles and the magazine is crowned the biggest independent and alternative music magazine worldwide by Alexa (Amazon’s statistical arm, rather than the eavesdropping speaker that was given the same name).

    The Mag Business Card

  • Going Global

    Twelve additional writers join and the team creates over 350 articles. The first overseas releases are received from Ireland, America, Canada and Australia.

    2003 Logo

  • Regular Team

    The writing team grows to seven regular contributors. Ther write over 250 articles and are invited onto judging panels for national and international battle of the bands competitions.

    2003 Logo

  • Website Launch

    Nicola and Felicity ask Steve to make them a website. The online version of The Mag is created and the articles from the print edition are quickly joined by regular articles. As Nicola and Felicity head off to University, Steve takes over as Editor.

    2003 Logo

  • First Edition

    Wiltshire, UK. Nicola and Felicity produce a print version of The Mag as part of their college course. It features a mix of local bands.

    The Mag Printed Edition