Digital music and magazines

According to Robert Sandall in the Sunday Times, Q magazine is repositioning itself as a guide to “track by track downloading”, in much the same way that US magazine Blender ends its music reviews with a “download this” track recommendation. Elsewhere Word magazine has its MyPod section on digital downloads, and online music is a mainstay of most music publications; apparently at least one major publisher has an iPod-themed magazine ready to launch in the very near future.

It’s not really a surprise, but it’s a shame for Future Publishing: a few years back it launched MP3 Magazine, and had to can it fairly quickly. The problem was that at the time, the record industry was in full-on “we must destroy MP3!” war mode; because advertisers didn’t want to be seen supporting a format that was inextricably linked with music piracy, they wouldn’t place the ads on which the magazine depended (publishing industry economics: no ads means no magazines. The price you pay in the shops doesn’t begin to cover the costs of magazine production). It’s a good example of having the right idea at the wrong time – something of an occupational hazard in the world of high technology.

[update, 29/7: It seems that the Sunday Times has been misinformed. The redesigned Q does have a guide to downloading, but elsewhere it’s business as usual albeit with an awful lot of trainspotter-y lists.]