Do you think music mags have a future? I didn't think so until I started messing around with an iPhone and hearing about the tablet/iSlate.
Just written this column (in the Culture section of tomorrow's Sunday Times) http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6986267.ece about why I reckon the Apple tablet will be great news for music magazines.
Amid my excitement about this nerdish-stuff and trying to explain what I'm banging on about to the average Times reader, I've probably not really made my point as clearly as possible but I really do think that the tablet or whatever the digital format is, is good for music mags because...
1) Audio visual content / accompaniment is a really exciting prospect for digesting journalism and create new forms of "guides" to genres, histories of music, current best stuff, etc...
2) I hate reading stuff on computer screens and it seems (from some trends in our stats - having said that, our traffic is better than ever!) I'm not alone in my online habits. However, I probably buy more magazines than I ever have done because I love reading journalism, especially about music. This new format will, I reckon, be really great for reading longer pieces.
3) I like the idea of being able to compile all the longer features I want to read and having them all available on a portable device, I'll probably end up reading even more.
4) With the potential of longer features, I really hope some new formats of journalism emerge, lots more essays and travel writing or adventures in music may emerge, less restrained by online attention spans and printed page space.
5) All those mags like Stool Pigeon and Loud & Quiet which I rarely see, and Fader and Under the Radar which aren't always available in the UK, will be LOADS easier to get hold of and probably much cheaper when the distro and newsagent costs aren't factored in - maybe even free, subsidised by ads like free newspapers, spotify, etc
6) I love the idea of a Last.fm style recommendation system of "people who liked this journo/columnist/magazine, also liked...." or presenting reviews and features based on my taste and stuff like that. Also there's probably a lot of scope for enhanced albums with proper features about the record to read whilst listening or the whole Prince Daily Mail cover-mounted album-give-aways possibilities being cranked to 11. Or what about the idea of artists doing a reading list of ebooks to read whilst listening to the album?
Do you think music mags have a future? What do you think they might be like? Which bits excite you? Do you think technology might make us read more or continue to need to read less and less...?