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.

  • First Edition

    Nicola and Felicity produced a print version of The Mag as part of their college course.

    The Mag Printed Edition

  • Website Launch

    Nicola and Felicity ask Steve to make them a website. As they head off to University, Steve takes over as Editor.

    2003 Logo

  • Regular Team

    The team of seven regular writers creates over 250 articles. Team members are added to the panels of several battle of the bands competitions.

    2003 Logo

  • Going Global

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

    2003 Logo

  • Winning the Internet

    The team writes over 500 articles in the year and the magazine is crowned the biggest independent and alternative music magazine worldwide by Alexa’s statistical arm.

    The Mag Business Card

  • The Mag Awards

    The magazine is assigned a PO Box and received deliveries of sacks filled with demos. In July, they celbrate the reader-voted winners of The Mag Awards, hosted by Grant Sharkey and sponsored by Jagermeister. The event was covered on the BBC and local radio. Xan Phillips plays songs from the winners on his Original 106 radio show.

    The Mag Awards 2007

  • Demo Stacked

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

    The Mag Awards 2007

  • Hit Pause

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

    The Last The Mag Logo

  • Phonotonal

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


  • Lockdown

    While shut inside, the archive of articles starts being uploaded.

  • Live Music Returns

    We get out to our first live show and ramp up the discovery of new stuff.

    Pale Waves