August 6, 2014 Last Updated 2:32 pm

TeamRock releases third Apple Newsstand app for a magazine title acquired from Future plc

Prog Magazine goes from being a replica edition of the print magazine to a native tablet edition built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

There was very little ‘classic’ about the digital editions produced by Future plc for their music magazines. Despite having a really good digital publishing platform in-house, FutureFolio, the UK publisher instead chose to produce replica edition apps for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.

ProgMag-coverThen last April TeamRock, a new publishing venture led by former GMG Radio chief executive John Myers bought the titles from Future plc and exactly 100 days ago released new Newsstand apps for the titles using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (see TNM post on those apps).

Forgotten was another Future plc title, Prog Magazine, which was apparently acquired, as well, or acquired later.

Whatever the case may be, a new Apple Newsstand app has now been released by TeamRock for Prog Magazine today – and it, too, is a native digital edition built using the Adobe DPS.

Now, with Classic Rock and Metal Hammer the thing that really made the new apps work was that they included audio, as well as native digital layouts. Here, with Prog Magazine, it appears that the effort to bring in audio has been forsaken, which is too bad. On the other hand, I did not initially see the audio players built into the other new apps, so maybe they are here, as well – or will come later.

Old-ProgMagBut the real difference between the old app and the new is simply readability. As you can see at left, with the old Prog Magazine app from Future, the replica edition produced nearly unreadable pages that required pinch-to-zoom to read. The new app, though, is designed specifically for the iPad and so will be a much more enjoyable read. (The old Future plc app has been pulled from the App Store but a Google search will still pull up a result that can be seen.)

That is not to say, though, that there aren’t some issues with the new design.

For one, the digital editions were, I bet, previewed on a standard sized iPad. The reason: the fonts are attractive, but barely large enough. On an iPad mini, the fonts are small – not unreadable, but certainly not what a designer would have liked, had they seen the page previews on a smaller tablet.

ProgMag-TOCThe other problem is that the new app is universal, meaning it also works on the iPhone. Works, as in it can be installed. Because the publisher probably decided against producing a new digital version that would work on an iPhone, they decided to go replica. I suppose there is merit to this decision as the other alternative would have been to make the new tablet edition fit on the iPhone. Might as well go replica if you are not going to produce a new native smartphone edition. (See! I’m not totally against replicas!)

If you are wondering what Prog Magazine is all about, either because you are too young or simply not up to speed on musical genres, then I should explain that there is no real definition of the genre. “Prog” is supposed to be short for “progressive” and progressive music generally is seen as starting in the late sixties with bands like King Crimson and Soft Machine. Over the years banss like Genesis, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Yes and other bands exemplified the genre. Even Italy had its prog music scene with bands like Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme, etc.

But “progressive” music went in many different directions in the mid-70’s when bands like Henry Cow went towards the avant-garde and others jumped the shark (Emerson, Lake & Palmer comes to mind). Then came punk. Who knows what the term means today.

The editors of Prog Magazine, for instance, seem to think “prog” means music produced in the U.K. – period. They definitely need to expand their horizons a little and become much more adventurous as their definition feels far too much like nostalgia to me.

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