Traditional music publications printed on shiny, real paper… staples in the middle… maybe you’ve seen one?
They’re on the decline for a number of reasons, the most obvious being the cost of distributing print over its more nimble digital counterpart (like this publication, as one obvious example.) The other, more overlooked reason is “targetability,” to borrow a marketing expression.
Print magazines can’t shift their content to target a specific reader the way the internet can, no matter how they try. Case in point: There is an entire Tumblr blog dedicated to pictures of owls that look hungover. You’d never find that in a magazine rack.
Digital publications have conditioned us to be intolerant to compromise, which becomes clear when thumbing through even the most reputable music rags. Only a handful of articles per issue play to any individual’s interests. If you’re mainstream-a-phobic and just want something to help you keep up on your favorite indie artists’ albums and shows, you’re probably not down with paying for reams of dead forest dedicated to Lady Gaga.
That is exactly what the Muzine iPad app ($2) isn’t: a catch-all for all the music news you might care about. Instead, it’s a user-edited music magazine for the iPad, which adjusts to your every whim.
Muzine, released this week (and powered by data from Songkick and The Echo Nest, publisher of Evolver.fm), lets you choose news, blogs, biographies, music videos, and tour dates from a catalog of over two-million artists. And unlike a dead tree magazine, Muzine lets you play MP3s embedded in articles and music blogs with the app’s built-in player, which can queue up multiple songs as you read.
To aid musical discovery, each artist page lets you view similar artists; selecting the “Read On My News” option adds that artist to your favorites, bringing you new articles about that band from thousands of media sources, 24 hours a day.
What does all this mean? Well for one, you won’t have to turn the page to escape another self-indulgent indie fairy tail from the latest dream-pop duo to emerge from Williamsburg (Brooklyn).
If you consider yourself open to new things, musically speaking, you’ll appreciate Muzine’s collection of featured articles, which mimics the old school music publications — the ones edited by someone else — which can be helpful for learning about bands you’re not already looking for. Finally, this iPad app lets you connect with whatever friends are also using Muzine, so you can follow along with what they’re reading.