Push’s Electronic Sound- of (New) Muzik (interview)
“It’s a tough business and it’s getting tougher all the time. I do really fear for the future of print titles now. There are a few exceptions, but the sales of print magazines are only going one way and that’s downwards.”
Speaking about his new (currently) ipad only digital magazine Electronic Sound, legendary British music journalist and one time Muzik magazine founder Push admits he’s pessimistic about the long term future of print mags.
“The magazine industry isn’t going to collapse in the near future, but it is having to find new business models – it’s the same with the music industry in general and also with book publishing – and that business model has to embrace digital,” he points out.
“Right now, I’m doing this new magazine, Electronic Sound, as a digital only title. It’s iPad only at the moment, but we’re looking into making it available in other formats as we hopefully go forward.”
“Electronic Sound is basically the same editorial idea as Electronic was last year, but I’m publishing it myself and I’m doing it this way partly because I can’t afford to do it as a print title, to do a quality magazine with high production values costs a lot of money,” he continues, “but partly because I think is where the future lies, especially for small, independent publishers.” (Click here to buy http://bit.ly/11aeoDj )
Promising in-depth editorial coverage ‘from the early academics to the krautrockers, from synthpunk and synthpop to electro and house and techno, from ambient noodling and wonky downtempo to electronic darkwave and industrial music’ the new magazine reflects Push’s own interests and areas of expertise, refined over a 30 year career as one of the UK’s most forward thinking (and entertaining) dance music writers.
Co-written with deputy editor Mark Roland and a string of equally high profile freelancers) the mag is out now via Itunes for €0.89 (£0.69) a price Push points out is significantly less than the outlay for Electronic (the print mag he edited last year which Future published for just one issue.)
“Electronic Sound is cheap,” says Push.
“We had quite a bit of flak about the print mag because Future priced it at £7.99. Electronic Sound costs £1.99 if you take out a monthly subscription, which you can cancel at any time. And the first month is free. And if you don’t want to subscribe, you can get the first issue for just 69p. You couldn’t get a coffee for that price in most places.”
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Why didn’t the printed edition work out; what happened?
Push (Electronic Sound): “Right from the beginning, there was every chance Electronic would be a one-off magazine. At that point, the guys at Future were trying out several different ideas – as well as Electronic, there was a blues magazine and a Goth magazine – and Electronic was probably the most radical mag for them to do. Don’t forget we’re talking about the team that publishes Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog here. So we were way out on a limb compared to their other titles.
We were always a punt for them and they were always a punt for us. In the event, Electronic sold OK, we had off-the-shelf sales equal to some of their other niche titles, but in the event they decided to focus on the blues mag and not pursue the other ideas. There were other things going on at Future in the aftermath of Electronic coming out too – you may have seen the news recently that Future have now sold Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog to a new publishing company called Team Rock – and I’d imagine that had an impact on their ultimate decision. And if we were out on a limb at Future, I suspect we’d have been even more out on a limb at Team Rock.”
Skrufff: What are the magazine’s USPs (unique selling points)?
Push (Electronic Sound): As far as I know, Electronic Sound is the only magazine that covers the whole of electronic music – from the academic pioneers and the krautrockers, through synthpop and synthpunk, through acid and house and techno and the whole 90s and post-millennium club scene, right through to today’s incredibly vibrant and exciting range of electronic artists.
I’m pretty sure we’re the only electronic music iPad magazine. And as well as the subject matter, because it’s a magazine app, we have boxes that you can swish around and boxes that pop up when you press a button, photos that pop up, photos that change when you swipe them, we have video and audio built-in to the magazine. It’s very interactive. And this is just the first issue. We’ve learnt how to put stuff like this together in just the last two or three months, so I’m really excited about what we might be able to do in coming issues.
A lot of so-called digital magazines are effectively just PDFs of the print title, but because we don’t have a print title we’ve been able to start from the ground up and do something that’s really different and exciting. I mean, I’ve spent hours just swishing boxes up and down because, well, just because I can, I guess.
Skrufff: What motivates you personally to take on this Hurculean task?
Push (Electronic Sound): Some kind of madness, I guess. It’s a hugely daunting task and all the more so because I’m risking money on it, but I love this music so much and I love making magazines so much, I almost kind of had no choice. I’ve no idea if it will work, but I do think that magazine apps are part of the future. There’s no way that they’re not. And I don’t doubt the quality of what we’ve produced here.
I think Electronic Sound is truly awesome. I really do. And the people who have seen it so far seem to agree. We’ve had some amazing comments about it. If you’ve got an iPad and you’re into electronic music, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to at least try this. I really believe that. It’s a great idea and I just hope it will work. If it doesn’t, then I’m for the knacker’s yard.”
(Click here to buy http://bit.ly/11aeoDj )
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff