This month came the announcement that the US based world music magazine Global Rhythm is dropping its print edition in favour of becoming digital only. Although disappointing, this comes as no surprise, as all of us have now had at least one of our favourite music mags disappear into cyberspace (goodbye Chaser) which is now accepted as unavoidable.
But hold on… If I go online to read about music, its to my favourite blogger with a DIY WordPress site packed full of web 2.0 goodies allowing me to experience that music, not to an expensive proprietary website with impersonal content trying to monetise me at every opportunity. Its strange, but if I read a print magazine this approach is fine (after all I decided to buy it), but if I’m online I need freedom.
Print magazines and online zines, despite having much in common, just don’t seem to work the same way and to transform one into the other is much more difficult that it at appears (check out Wired for a determined attempt). But why do the printed music press have to do this anyway and is the internet so limited in use that this is the only option?
A good example example of an alternative approach is this Interactive Sampler that lets you turn the pages of the present edition of Songlines Magazine to help you decide if its worth buying the latest copy. This is the internet being used to support sales of print magazines, not replace them.
The internet is great, but companies should not get carried away and start thinking that all physical products can be turned into online equivalents. I’m not going to swap my vinyls for mp3s, so a website can’t replace my favourite print mag.
If you’re looking for an alternative world music print magazine try Songlines instead of Global Rhythm.