August 22, 2013 Last Updated 3:28 pm

Four new music tablet magazines, all still on mute

Publishers know how hard it is to get attention for their new magazine launches. Well, musicians know how hard it is to get noticed, too. But the combination of the tablet magazine platform with music seems like a natural fit. So it is not at all surprising to see lots of new music magazines appearing in the Apple Newsstand – some have print counterparts, but many are digital-only.

NewNoise-iPad-lgOf the four brand new music magazine apps I downloaded just today by far the best of these is New Noise Magazine, which appears under the editor’s developer account name, Lisa Root.

New Noise appears to have been built using the Mag+ platform. The app description says that the first issue has a special introductory price of $1.99, but the Metal Special Edition is to be found inside the library and can be downloaded for free.

One would guess that team behind the magazine don’t come with a ton of magazine experience because their pricing is all over the map. Issue 2 may be priced at $1.99, but issue 3 is $2.99. A 6-month subscription is $14.99.

The graphics inside the digital issue I looked at were pretty damn good, though the layouts were unimaginative. One tends to see the scrolling text box option used far too often with Mag+ apps, to the point where one is starting to think of it as a cliché.

New Noise comes from San Francisco, but as the name suggests, you won’t find anything here on the Jefferson Airplane or Quicksilver Messenger Service, it’s Death Wolf and Heaven Shall Burn here. In the eight years I lived in the Bay Area I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as angry as these bands appear to be.

seo_cw_product-1LA Musician Magazine comes from down the coast but the formula is pretty much the same: interviews with musicians, in this case, individual musicians. In fact, the full name of the new Newsstand app is LA Musician Magazine – Interviews & Articles About the Los Angeles New Music Scene.

Like New Noise, LA Musician appears under an individual’s developer account name – Angus Godwin.

The digital magazine suffers from fairly crude layouts, which I know the designer will feel is an unfair judgement. But it is sadly true that the biggest problem with most of the new self-published new digital magazines is that they come from people who feel they have something to say and want to publish a magazine but really don’t have the chops to do it.

But like New Noise, the purpose here is to write about the musicians and make them more well known to the reading public. In this regard, LA Musician gets the job done.

screen480x480I wish I could say more about Guitar Fan, which comes from Finland. But the magazine issue inside the app was such an incredibly slow download that I gave up after a few minutes.

Issues are priced at 5.49 €, while an annual subscription is 26.99 €. But in the app the cost of the first issue was only $0.99, maybe discounted because the chances that a US readers would be able to read the Finnish text is low. Nonetheless, downloading was not successful.

Unlike the previous two apps, Guitar Fan was released under the developer account name of Celain Oy, the name of what I am presuming to be the app developer. The app appears to also be available in the Google Play store.

The fourth magazine comes from South Korea and is for Korean Jazz Magazine MMJAZZ. The actual name of the magazine is MM Jazz, a jazz title that has been publishing since 1998.

seo_cw_productThe magazine, though, appears under the name Dong Myeong Lee, who I presume has a connection with Smartfinger, the company behind the publishing solution (his other app in the app store is a viewer app).

This is the one music magazine to come from print and so what the reader gets is essentially a replica edition, right on down to the left-right page numbering.

What is terribly disappointing about all four of these new music tablet editions is the lack of actual music inside the issues. I sat down a few weeks ago with the publisher of a well known music magazine to discuss digital media. I asked the rhetorical question “do you think that there will be music magazines five years from now would exist that did not contain music?”

I guess I’m surprised that there are those that would want to continue to create new music magazines that remain with mute on.

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