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No, print magazines are not like vinyl

Vinyl is a flawed substrate for music; print has never been a substandard reading substrate. But that’s not the only unhelpful comparison.


I wish someone would buy a copy of The Grub Street Journal every time I heard someone say, ‘magazines are making a vinyl-style comeback’. I love vinyl and I love print, but I hate the comparison. I hate it so much, I actually sat down and wrote a slightly ragey explanation of why.

It basically comes down to two things. The first is that I see vinyl as a fundamentally flawed medium for delivering recorded music. Album art and liner notes are brilliant, scratches not so much. Print, on the other hand, is the perfect delivery vehicle for words and pictures. Digital has speed on its side, but for reading experience, print is just better.

Probably more important than my anti-audiophile views on vinyl, is how the music industry and the magazine industry see their legacy formats. There has been real investment in re-establishing vinyl as a significant revenue stream, seen in 15+ years of growth. Meanwhile, magazine publishers are, mostly, focused on managing decline. Coincidence? I think not.

Do you get as irritated as I do by the print-vinyl comparison? Do you actually think it makes sense. Try to convince me over on our community forum.


Media companies announce more layoffs to cut costs, blaming a relentlessly challenging ad market

The seemingly endless cycle of media industry layoffs over the past year hit a crescendo last week, with cuts hitting G/O Media, Vice Media and Vox Media, as execs sought to cut costs before the end of the year.

The end-of-year cost-cutting thread that runs through this story is truly depressing, as are the numbers being reported. According to a recent report, the media industry had announced over 19,000 job cuts through the end of October 2023; there were 3,000 announced in the same period last year. As usual the bean counters are shedding staff and using the slow ad market as a ‘chance to reset the cost bar’. FFS!


Newsletter winter is coming

Email newsletters have been the darling of the digital media world over the past 5 years or so, but I’m increasingly concerned the industry has dramatically over-invested in the space.

This is an interesting reality check for newsletter evangelists. Matt Karolian highlights flat usage data for email as a news vehicle, discoverability problems and incleasingly crowded inboxes among the reasons newsletters are not the silver bullet some might hope for. His solution is to distribute newsletter content through apps and on web pages, untethering the message from the medium. Eminently sensible.


Nic Newman: Why news podcasts are on the rise

Media researcher explains the truth behind the headlines

Possibly at a different stage in the hype cycle, news podcasts are having a bit of a moment. Reuters Digital News Report’s Nic Newman credits the initial growth in the sector to the Daily from The New York Times. “Now we’re into a very different world. A lot of innovation around formats, a lot of extended chat podcasts, a lot of political podcasts, a huge number of niche podcasts… really finding an audience.”

More from Media Voices


WalesOnline’s Jillian MacMath on transforming a portfolio of newsletters

Jillian MacMath talks about creating a strategy for WalesOnline’s newsletter portfolio, what metrics matter, and getting buy-in from the team.


Media Briefs: Yes, you can use Apple News to build first-party data

Apple News doesn’t share reader data directly. But there are clear pathways for publishers to leverage and drive first-party data capture in the app.


What to expect at our upcoming AI-focused event for publishers

There’ll be plenty to learn from all of the speakers, but here are just a few of the sessions we’re most looking forward to at Mx3 AI.

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