Every one of the 1,000 back issues of Gramophone will be available to all digital and App subscribers on PC, Apple and Android devices for £3.99 a month or £39.99 a year. The archive is based on the North American edition of Gramophone, which includes all the UK pages plus a 16-page supplement in each issue, “Sounds of America”. This details musical developments in the US and Canada and reviews specialist American releases.
Archive for the ‘digital’ Category
Came across this post from Neelay Patel about the Economist’s iPad strategy. It reminds me of the advice from typographers when DTP came in (John Miles made a similar plea at the time):
We also agonized over what not to include. We didn’t want any bells or whistles, or anything that would distract our readers from doing what they wanted, to finish reading their Economist each week.
With 600,000 unique devices accessing the apps each week and over 125,000 digital-only subscribers (and that was back in May), who could argue?
The digital arena is a different world, with big magazine sales not guaranteeing a big online presence
Consider this Twitter snapshot today:
- Dazed and Confused (no official sales figure) on Twitter has 405,000 followers with 13,675 following;
- Grazia (ABC: 190,000 a week) has just 122,000 with 1,161 followers;
- Vogue (ABC: 205,000 a month) 731,000, but just 877 following;
- i-D (no sales figure) 449,000 with 303 following.
A mixed picture, but Dazed is clearly the Twitter winner. Good news for Jefferson Hack and Rankin.
Magazines and newspapers in the west are debating when they are likely to drop the print product and switch to digital-only.
Auto-Trader – once the milk cow that kept the Guardian afloat – has put a figure on it in the Telegraph:
John King, Trader Media Group’s chief executive, said it is likely to stop producing a print magazine next year. “We won’t make the decision until later this year, but we’re looking at around 12 to 18 months from now,”
Google’s new Nexus 2 tablet has taken a leaf out of Apple and Amazon’s book by making sure it will have ‘content’ on stream, including magazines from its Google Play app store, from US publishers Hearst and Condé Nast, such as Popular Science, Food Network, and Conde Nast Traveler.
I discovered recently I’ve been blocked from editing Wikipedia since July last year (I tried to log on to complain about my articles on Magforum being ripped off). Apparently, my entries appear ‘to be mainly intended or used for publicity and/or promotional purposes’. What I thought I’d been doing was correcting some of the garbage about magazines that was up there or adding a link to unique content on Magforum.com (it turns out this creates a tag: ‘possible conflict of interest’ because I had Magforum as my user name). There are 48 pages that quote Magforum, but I didn’t create any of them and I’ve contributed to about a dozen of them.
However, I stopped doing so about 18 months ago. Why? Because I got fed up of Wikipedia basing its pages on Magforum and ending up higher in Google searches. For example, I’ve written 1200 words on ‘Not Private Eye’ with half-a-dozen page scans; Wikipedia created its page based on mine with 87 words. It has since expanded to 300 words and now I barely scrape above it on a Google search; in fact, it’s had 341 visits in the past 30 days compared with my 113. They have always had the link to my page, but who reads to the bottom of a web page? – 1 in 100 according to my stats because just 3 people have come to Magforum.com from the Wikipedia Not Private Eye entry.
- Wikipedia on Minx magazine: ‘Minx was a UK magazine aimed at “young, assertive, rather scary young women”. It was published by EMAP between October 1996 and July 2000 before being shut down. At the time of its closure, its circulation was 120,000 copies a month.’
- The Magforum entry for Minx (to which the above gives an external link): ‘Emap Elan, London. Monthly. October 1996 – July 2000. Minx, which had been known as ‘Project Beryl’, was described by Elan’s managing director, Sue Hawken, as ‘the next step up from More!‘ It was backed by£1.5 million spent on TV and radio advertising. The editor was Toni Rodgers and the first issue – ‘For girls with a lust for life’- cost £1. The target circulation was 170,000-180,000 and 50,000 copies were given away in welcome packs to women at colleges. It was described as a cross between National Magazine’s Company and Loaded, that aimed to sell to ‘young, assertive, rather scary young women’. Emap closed Minx in 2000, despite sales of 120,000 a month.’
There are 48 Wikipedia pages that reference Magforum.com, from’1914 in art’; to Janet Street-Porter (I added the reference to Sell-Out); to bar codes; to MUD1 (the bit about Dally and the skip); to Razzle; to Acorn User (I edited the thing!).
My first reaction was to appeal against what had been done, but boy do they make it difficult. I gave up. The more I think about it, the more it’s clear to me that whoever/whatever did the blocking has: a) gone power mad; b) doesn’t look at what it’s doing; c) needs to get out more. Certainly not worth spending my time on.
There was a pivotal moment this morning as Dazed & Confused founder Jefferson Hack and Emma Reeves were showing me round the Somerset House exhibition of the book celebrating 20 years of the magazine. Reeves was reeling off the names of celebrity portaits by Rankin (the magazine’s other founder – they met at the London College of Printing): ‘Michael Stipe … Beth Ditto…’. Then Hack breaks in ‘… and Kate’.
He meant Kate Moss, of course, his former partner and mother of their daughter. Moss is the face on the exhibition’s publicity and the cover of the Rizzoli book. The tour changed then. It was no longer just about a great magazine with images and ideas from many of the greatest illustrators, styists and photographers of the past two decades (though the names drop thick and fast, Bjork, Taylor-Wood, Coldplay, Hirst, the Chapmans, throughout the exhibition). Instead, it was about family. And philosophy and technology.
Both Reeves and Hack talked of the magazine’s staff and contributors as family. And there are two rooms celebrating a lost member of that family: Alexander McQueen. The fashion designer and couturier hanged himself in February 2010 a week after his mother died.
I asked Hack what was the best-selling issue. He responded not with numbers, but the fact that the Fashion-Able cover (September 1998) is the most requested back issue. This led us into room 5 of the exhibition where Nick Knight’s fashion portraits of men and women without legs, or arms, are projected on three large screens – the shoot was the idea of McQueen with styling by Katy England. It is a great cover – a model, who on first glance could be Kate Moss, with prosthetic legs. Arresting.
‘That was the point were the magazine grew up,’ said Hack, taking us into the room. ‘With that issue we were on page two or three of the world’s newspapers. We realised that you didn’t have to be the best-selling magazine to have an influence on culture. That has been our philosophy ever since.’
Getting editors to talk about philosophy can be difficult; for many it is too ethereal, even sounding pretentious. But the best magazines have one. The Economist has a page on its philosophy: ‘We are international, we stress the links between politics and business, we are irreverent and we are independent,’ says John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief. Mike Soutar had a ‘mantra’ in 1997 at FHM – ‘funny, sexy, useful’. US satirical monthly Spy was ‘smart, funny, fearless’.
Many magazines have a family feel. Take Sir Luke Fildes, who was illustrating The Mystery of Edwin Drood when Dickens died half way through the monthly serial being written:
‘… at the request of the family, who wished me to fulfil the desire of the great writer, they asked me after the funeral to come and stay with them, and it was then, while in the house of mourning, I conceived the idea of ‘The Empty Chair,’ and at once got my colours from London, and, with their permission, made the water-colour drawing a very faithful record of his library; and stayed with them until they left the house prior to the sale.’
Woman’s weeklies have long talked about a family of staff and contributors, so Woman’s Own in the 1950s would discuss the lives of its writers and artists – showing a photograph of cover artist Aubrey Rix with his new baby for example, and discussing the roles and lives of young members of staff. And the promotion of the royal family in this era was a boon to magazine sales.
As for technology, Hack described a software installation by Nick Knight as ‘an app ten years ago’. Run your finger across the image to reveal layers of other images underneath. The software was developed for manipulating images – as in Knight’s cover for the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition for the V&A catalogue. And Reeves identified a watershed – eight years ago – for the switch to digital imaging at Dazed. Going back beyond then was ‘a nightmare’, she said. After that, the illustrators and photographers had digital archives of their work. Before then, ‘I’d end up at their mum’s house with a box in the garage.’
The free exhibition 20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine opens at Somerset House in London tomorrow. You can buy the Rizzoli book - a hefty 300-plus pages for £35 with more pictures than you can shake a stick at – at the exhibition or from the Dazed website.
Used this iPad on its stand at the office last week and was impressed by its stability. So I picked it up to examine it. An iPad stand has got to cost £30, I thought. But this is what I discovered:
It’s a hole punch with the iPad held on with Blu-Tack! What office hasn’t got a hole punch (cost £8) and Blu-Tack lying around doing nothing?
Never mind Liam Fox resigning, see this baby with magazine video: makes you think.
The magazine responded to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, saying:
‘… we asked our reproduction house to remove him from the picture (common practice among glossy magazines). This would have left the Duchess with only one arm, so they copied over her arm to complete the picture. We would like to reassure all our readers that we did not purposely make any alternations to the Duchess of Cambridge’s image to make her appear slimmer, and we are sorry if this process gave that impression. Grazia takes the issue of women’s body image very seriously and we would never “slim down” a picture of a female role model.’