01 A Short History of Launch

2Way Media (apparently now defunct) created Launch. They issued this vintage multimedia CD-ROM magazine for Windows and Macintosh from the mid-1990s through early 2000s. It started out as a bi-monthly production with its premiere in 1995. The official “magazine” title back then, for Issues 1 through 9, was Launch: The Bi-Monthly Entertainment CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh.

Premiere Issue No. 1 featured an exclusive live performance and interview with Matthew Sweet and exclusive live performance of his song, “I Almost Forgot.” It also contained movie previews of Batman Forever and Cruz; game demos of Marathon, Relentless, and Glider; and in the animation department, the debut of Squirrely and Six Pak and Joey Noir.

Later, Launch went monthly, starting with Issue 20. This was approximately August 1998. (It is difficult to determine exact dates with many of the earliest Launch issues, as few had any time indicators except for noting the copyright year.)

There were 54 numbered Launch issues, plus two unnumbered special issues: Seasons Greetings 1999 (between Issues 35 and 36) and Special Warped Tour 2001 (simultaneously with Issue 51). So, Launch had a total run of 56 issues before ending in August 2001 when it was absorbed into an online-only format via Yahoo! Music.

Before the end, Launch underwent at least 10 variations on its official name. Although it always retained the main title of “Launch,” various other phrases were added, morphed, or subtracted. These changes offer some insight into changes in the company and perhaps in the industry.

  • Launch: The Bi-Monthly Entertainment CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh (Issues 1 through 9).
  • Launch: Your Entertainment CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows (Issue 10).
  • Launch: CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh (Issues 11 through 12).
  • Launch CD-ROM: Bi-Monthly for Windows and Macintosh (Issues 13 through 15).
  • Launch CD-ROM (Issues 16 through 21).
  • Launch: On CD-ROM (Issues 22 through 24).
  • Launch: Discover New Music!TM (Issues 25 through 45).
  • Launch (Issues 46 through 50).
  • Launch: With Bonus Audio Tracks (Issues 51 through 53).
  • Launch (Issue 54).

Issues of Launch are still frequently found on eBay and Amazon. The CD-case versions are easier to collect than the off-the-rack magazine-sized holder versions. Either way, certain issues seem to go in and out of favor, making it difficult to assemble an complete collection.