June 16, 2015 Last Updated 2:59 pm

Category review: Number of Movies & Music digital titles increase +25% in past year

Despite most new titles launched into the Newsstand being replicas, new magazines such as Republic Of Music and Stream Sverige demonstrate the potential of digital publishing

The Apple Newsstand is reported to be shuttered with the release of iOS 9, with all the app inside the folder to then be scattered to the winds. That move will possibly make finding a magazine app a bit easier on the reader’s device (assuming the reader doesn’t then gather up all those icons and place them in a new folder), but it will make finding something to new to read that much harder (and possibly drive readers to the new Apple News app).

RepMusic-iPadSo, before Apple kills off the Newsstand completely, it might be smart to know where we are today. Are publishers and developers still launching digital magazines (and newspapers), and what are we seeing.

The Movies & Music category of the Newsstand is relatively small compared to categories like Business or News & Politics. Part of the reason for this is that Apple also created an Entertainment category which contains more than double the number of titles as Movies & Music has.

The Google Play newsstand does not break out titles for films and music and instead only has an Entertainment category (which has only 124 titles inside it).

Since last spring, the Movies & Music category has grown to 365 titles (2 paid, the rest free), a 26 percent increase. But most of the newer titles have been launched replica makers, some of which are fairly readable, though most are not.

But the biggest problem with most digital magazines inside the Movies & Music category is that they contain neither movies nor music. One doesn’t expect to find a full length film inside a movie magazine just because it is digital, but one does expect video clips. The same goes for music magazines.

Republic Of Music is one of those new digital magazines that understands this. Powered by Almond, this new digital magazine is all about the music.

The layouts are very simple, designed to work as easily on the iPhone as the iPad. Obviously, this is a digital magazine designed first for mobile.

Like many magazines designed to be digital-only, the publisher has left out any contact or staff information, something that drives me crazy. I would normally like to learn more about the people behind the magazine before writing about it.

SJ-coverThat is also the problem with Smooth Jazz Magazine, a magazine launched on the Magzter platform. Most Magzter titles are replicas as the platform is PDF based. But I know of a number of self-publishers who have considered using the platform for a digital magazine simply because creating a PDF is easy, and using Magzter means your title will be in their own digital newsstand, and available on most platforms including Android and Kindle Fire.

In this case, the print version of Smooth Jazz happens to be 7″ x 10″ and uses oversized fonts. The art direction here screams “self-published” as the Photoshop work is poor, but at least the magazine can read. (TNM’s rule #1 for any magazine: it has to be able to be read!)

I guess Smooth Jazz Magazine begs the question ‘can a magazine really be called a digital magazine just because it can be read on a digital device?’ I have my doubts. Then again, I wouldn’t call ‘smooth jazz’ really ‘jazz’ either – but maybe that’s just me.

Magzter now has so many apps inside the Apple Newsstand that my iTunes app simply can’t handle scrolling through them all. As I have 16 gigs of RAM on my iMac, that only goes to show you 1) how many titles Magzter has launched into the Newsstand; and 2) just what a lousy piece of software iTunes has become.


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By far the most interesting new digital magazine launched into the Movies & Music category latest is Stream Sverige, which uses the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create its Newsstand app and issues. The magazine is in Swedish, though it appears the publisher is Danish.

The app appears under the AdaptIntoMedia developer account, which I am guessing is also Misfit ApS. Helen Holmdal Petersen’s name also appears in iTunes, Partner and Creative Director at Misfit ApS. It’s all so confusing.

But actually it isn’t because there in the back is the staff box. Bless you!

Mona Johansson is created with being the editor-in-chief, with Thomas Tanggard listed as both editor and art director (with Petersen list as Kreativ Chef).

But only properly crediting the creators of this digital magazine would not be enough if this new digital film magazine still forgot the video content – it did not, it is there throughout the magaizne.

This is more like what iPad owners expected to see from publishers back when Apple first launched their tablet. Now, though, with Apple about to do away with the Newsstand, the publisher wisely chose to also launch this new magazine into the Google Play newsstand. (In fact, it made it through Google’s review team one day faster than Apple’s.)

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