The verflixte 7th year. The human body is said to renew its cells in 7-year intervals. The esoteric traditions talk of seven chakras or energy vortexes which connect the human body to different vibratory dimensions. In relationships, the number seven is believed to signify the arising of unresolved issues while astrology looks at one's 49th year (7x7) as a time of enforced emotional and issue-based house cleaning when stuff one hasn't handled or procrastinated on catches up to present itself unavoidably.

6moons launched in June 2002 out of a very small earthship (a living structure halfway buried in the ground) in Taos, New Mexico. Six residences, a Mediterranean island and another continent later, June 2009 marked the point at which 6moons transitioned into its 8
th year of operations. Looking at the bigger picture surrounding us and how our little venture has adjusted, the various qualities ascribed to the N°.7 seem to have asserted themselves.

For one, our move to Switzerland during the seventh year and the expansion into broader syndication arrangements with German, Polish, Finnish and Turkish publications has made 6moons a more European publication as compared to our US beginnings. Syndication had been on my mind for years but finding the right partners took a lot longer. As it turns out, there was grace in the timing. The economic stress presently afflicting all nations also affects volunteer writers. They might be faced with job losses or severe salary cuts in their real lives. Their ability or motivation to push their recuperative audio hobby into work-related stress cannot remain immune. Hence certain contributors had to slow down, others stop entirely.

Our syndications help to rebalance that. They also assist our editorial partners in gaining broader visibility for themselves. After all, their original languages focus on specific countries, not a global English-speaking audience. It's a further win/win for the manufacturers. When working within our informal alliance, they can gain two reviews for the expense of one. It cuts down on shipping costs, on being out multiple units at once which become B-stock returns regardless of condition to mean profit losses.

Our new Swiss headquarters also help us to distinguish our product selection from American magazines which, by necessity, gravitate to brands that are represented there. While the US has quite a number of audio-related web publications (Tone Audio, The SoundStage Network, Positive Feedback Online, EnjoyTheMusic, Dagogo, Audiophilia, Stereotimes, Stereomojo, Sonic Flare and websites for the two print magazines Stereophile and The Abso!ute Sound), Europe has far fewer. We decided to take advantage of that. But we don't just look at Europe. Particularly in China, there is still a lot of design exuberance at work in the audio sector. Yet China isn't alone. Think Allnic Audio Labs, April Music, Calyx and Emillé Audio from Korea for example. Vietnam has Navison Audio and Japan remains a hotbed for audio esoterica. Even Europe hides many new surprises. Our RoadTour Serbia chronicled just one of its corners to come up with a number of lesser-known players (and we still missed NAT Audio, Dayens and Karan Acoustics). Recent discoveries like the Ampino from Serbia and MiniWatt tube integrated from Hong Kong also prove that good hifi isn't merely for the well-heeled. That's certainly gratifying in the present climate.

Seven years in business naturally had us say welcome to new faces, good-bye to old ones. Some gave up on audio reviewing for good, some couldn't meet deadlines, some wanted to write elsewhere. Considering how taxing this 'professionalized' part of the hobby can be, it's surprising how many of the old faces are still on our masthead. Here's a standing ovation and sincere thanks for their continued support and output. On support, another applause is due our advertisers who subsidize our very existence not just for the benefit of our readers. They also squarely benefit the vast majority of manufacturers who had their products reviewed but never reciprocated with a penny. This is intrinsic to the ad-based publishing model of course but it bears the occasional repeating. Were it not for those who financially support us, not only would you have nothing to read, none of the hundreds of manufacturers in our pages would have ever gotten a single review.

What the future holds is impossible to predict. If support dries up, belts will get tightened. This could reflect in fewer show reports or roadtours. Those are operating expenses which can be eliminated without jeopardizing the magazine. But humans in general tend to respond to hardship by cooperation. As a Russian premier is rumored to have put it to an American, "if there really was an alien threat out there, our countries would unite in a common cause and overcome our silly terrestrial conflicts like that". Add peppy finger snap to highlight the point.

Cooperation on all levels is mandatory when we consider the bigger global picture. And as always, it must begin on the individual level. We have practiced such cooperation for a while now and look forward to continuing it. We'll also explore new win/win opportunities as they present themselves. If we really love this industry and listening to music; if we wish to see it and everything associated prosper or at least survive... team work seems inevitable. At least that's what the N°.7 seems to have told us.

Seven years. Has it really been that long already? They say time flies when you're having fun. In business, it also means the occasional unpleasantness which those with more experience know is just a matter of time. We've had a few of those. On balance however, they've been so few and far between as to not warrant much attention. I can
honestly say that this whole adventure thus far has developed in ways and directions I never contemplated when that first issue quietly arrived on the web with a review of a Thai nOrh speaker. I'm not sure what the N°.8 is supposed to signify. I'm sure we'll find out in due course now that our eighth year has begun to tick already.