Magazines and Music: They both start with M, but that’s where the similarities endJune 20, 2007
My friend Bob Sacks wrote an article entitled “Printed Magazines Will Follow the Path of the Plastic Record,” which you can read here. Well, needless to say I do not agree with Bob on this issue. Here is my take on music records and magazines.
Unlike music CDs, mp3s, vinyl, or tapes magazines are disposable items. Magazines are not meant to be kept, collected or read and reread over and over the same way you listen to a song or enjoy an album.
(Well, ok I know I am an exception to the rule. I keep every magazine and my collection is now up to almost 23,000 first editions. I also know that some of those magazines will have a big monetary value, but that is not the reason they were published. Hugh Hefner never put in his business plan that the first issue of Playboy will sell for thousands of dollars in the future).
The beauty of magazines is that you read them, you toss them, you recycle them, you share them and a new one will appear on the stands or in your mailbox the next day, week, month, quarter, etc…magazines are not meant to be collected, they are meant to be used and abused. Every issue is different yet the same. You see Cosmo this month you know it is Cosmo…music albums, even those of the same band, do not carry the same design, the same feel or even the same look. Once an album is born fans listen to it, keep it, download it, re-listen to it, etc., you get my drift…no relationship to the next one. You do not listen to an album in a sequence and you do not dispose of it when it is over. It has a repeat value, a very high repeat value that is exactly the opposite of magazines. The only repeat value magazines have is in their changing content. Music does not have a concept that needs to be implemented and repeated one album after the other…magazines do.
Music is universal. You do not translate the Beatles music to your own language. In Lebanon as in the UK and the USA you listen to the same music. You do not translate…music can show that the world is flat, that is not something new (I grew up in Lebanon in the 60s listening to the same music teens were listening to in the UK and the USA). Magazines are just the opposite…In Finland the magazines mainly are in Finish, in Lebanon in Arabic, in the States in English…and guess what? Each has its own personality and its own reflection of the society that surrounds it. So fear not, the future of magazines is not going to be for the few collectable copies like vinyl…that is not the reason people buy magazines for…People will continue to look for a warehouse of information in which once they consume the goods in it, they look for more goods. Magazines are like a box of chocolate, once you consume the chocolate you do not refill the box, you buy another one. So the next time someone tells you the future of magazines are like the future of vinyl, just tell them how many people they know read the same magazine over and over the same way they listen to their music