Friday, 22 January 2010


I’ve been subscribed to Songlines for five years. It is a great magazine. I have learned from it more about music than in my entire life. (Hmm. This sentence only makes sense if “my entire life” does not include those five years. So it is not really “entire life” then.) Songlines was responsible for my first encounter with music of Lila Downs, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Lhasa, Nina Nastasia, Angélique Kidjo, Yat-Kha etc., etc. Now that my subscription has lapsed, I am getting (thankfully, not very frequent) emails about renewal.

The latest notice was different.
We’re delighted to announce that Songlines magazine is now available on subscription in digital format. Songlines Digital looks and reads just like the print edition and is fully indexed and searchable. <...> Each edition also includes five free full track downloads which tie in with features and album reviews.

For a free trial issue of our sold-out 50th edition, click here.
So I did have a look and, frankly, I am not impressed. The whole thing is published with FlipViewer® Xpress. Indeed it looks exactly like the printed magazine, and this is a problem. For that magazine feel, one has to print it out. Seriously, you can’t read it in a browser. And what’s with five downloads? With a hard copy, I was getting at least one Top of The World CD with about 15 tracks (and sometimes, an extra CD). I think the electronic version of Songlines should be more web-friendly and make full use of multimedia. And there’s no need for the “flipping sound”!

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