Online music resource, All About Jazz, launches its own magazine
Jazz magazine to be available as a flipbook through Issuu
If you have ever searched for a musician or record through Google you have no doubt ended up on one of two music websites: AllMusic or AllAboutJazz. Along with a few other online resources, these two websites pretty much always will produce a relevant music search result.
All About Jazz was founded in 1995 by Michael Ricci and I find myself on the website often. But while some may see jazz as a small niche within the giant world of music, lovers of jazz see the art form as infinitely variable – which is why anyone talking about the saxophone will rarely bring up Sydney Bechet, John Coltrane and Kenny G in the same conversion about soprano sax players.
Jazz lovers are served by a few a number of jazz magazines – Downbeat, Jazzwise, JazzTimes, for instance – but the category, and music magazines as a whole, lag far behind other categories in their digital editions. All three titles above have Newssstand apps that are replica editions, pretty much the norm within the music category (where as the photography category has a plethora of great native tab mags).
Probably the best tablet magazine in the jazz category is Musica Jazz (above-left), the Italian title that has been covering jazz since the end of World War II. It is one of the few print magazines that has considered what is possible in a digital magazine with its iPad edition (video, audio, playlists with music samples, etc.).
Today, All About Jazz launched its own jazz magazine which will be available though the website as a print edition, and online through a digital flipbook through Issuu. (see update at bottom of article)
The new magazine is a collaborative effort of the Michael Ricci and All About Jazz, and MFM Media, a Dutch music marketing firm (which has an office in NYC, which may have come into play here as AAJ is from Philadelphia).
The new magazine has the look and feel of an effort that might come from outside the magazine industry. The layouts are fairly simple, similar to what is often seen in the self-published magazines that appear using the MagCast platform. But then again, All About Jazz isn’t a website owned by some major media company.
“The depth, breadth and sheer volume of content published at All About Jazz is truly remarkable,” writes Ricci in the opening editor’s column. “It’s especially notable when you consider our staff is 100% volunteer. We’ve published 8-10 articles a day for well over a decade, and pulling together some of our finest pieces in the form of a digital magazines sounds like a great next step.”
When considering the things many believe are necessary for a successful new digital magazines, All About Jazz’s new title has a much going for it. First, as mentioned above, it already has content it can draw on – from feature articles to short pieces on new releases. Second, it has a database of prospective readers drawn from the existing website, which requires you to sign-up if you want access to participation in the forums, or to communicate with the staff (actually, this is a problem, as it makes it very hard to reach Ricci).
“Our brief was to create a magazine re-purposing content on the website adding value for both existing All About Jazz readers and advertisers,” says MFM Media on its website.
“Secondly the addition of the magazine will allow All About Jazz to reach a new audience who may not be familiar with the current website. Our goal is to fully integrate all the advantages inherent in both the print and online world providing a true interactive experience for the reader.”
Actually, this last point I would argue with. The online magazine is about as old fashioned as they come, a Flash flipbook of the fashion that many publishers used to produce 6 or 7 seven years ago. The interactivity, as far as I could see, was limited to links to ways to buy the music being featured – which means that those live jazz videos on the All About Jazz website won’t be found here, nor audio samples from new CD releases.
I think jazz lovers will be very happy with the new magazine because of its content and the fact that the publisher is a trusted source. With its loyal readership, I would bet on this being a new title that can succeed.
But reader research consistently shows flipbooks as the least popular format for any publication – print being the most popular, followed by eReaders and tablets. The decision to launch a replica edition with links means that an opportunity was missed to create a truly interactive new digital edition.
I think the music category may be waiting for one of the music labels, one with a good digital agency, to create a digital magazine that combines all the things tablet owners in particular would want. Without the need to worry about the P&L, only looking at the marketing opportunities, they might created something that is as good as those digital editions found in other consumer categories.
Update: Michael Ricci, the founder and editor of All About Jazz, got back to me. He said he’ll check out the language found on the MFM Media website, but there are no plans for a print edition – the Flash flipbook is the only version of the magazine planned right now.