There was a time not so long ago when we were told print was yesterday’s media and the unrelenting march of the Internet would crush everything in its path.
As national and regional newspapers battle to retain ever-dwindling readerships there are those who would argue that the end is, indeed nigh, for those who produce words for consumption in the physical form.
And the success of this very website – with more than 50,000 unique users passing through these pages in its first year – backs up the opinion that the world wide web is the only way forward.
But hold on a second.
This is the week when one of the greatest guitarists in the world – if not the greatest – announced he was set to release is debut solo album first as part of a special bundle packaged with a magazine. Yes, you read that right: a magazine.
Not for Slash, founder member of Guns N Roses and axe slinger with post modern greats Velvet Revolver, an internet-only release, full steaming and free downloads – although he may succumb to some sort of web-wide gimmick nearer the time.
No, Stoke’s most famous musical export has chosen Classic Rock Magazine to shift his new CD first. And for that we can be eternally grateful.
The best monthly rock mag in the world is a joy to behold with its mix of in-depth reporting, exclusive interviews and exhaustive reviews. There’s a lot to be said for clutching a glossy magazine in favour of clicking on a grubby mouse. And it’s neither safe nor practical to lie in a warm bath with your netbook engrossed in some of the best rock writing around.
Slash also knows that by releasing his record as part of a Classic Rock Magazine fan special he’s reaching the perfect audience all of the time. It’s a title which screams authority and the majority of readers will have been following the guitarist’s career from the GNR glory days though his Snakepit era and into the VR years.
These days Slash is about as Classic Rock as they come. More main man than wild child he appeals perfectly to the magazine-buying public and an innovative marketing ploy could set a precedent for established artists using the print media to push their wares.
For many years bands have batted to be part of cover mounted CDs and Tesla released one half of their recent compilation collection with CR Mag last year. But Slash is taking an age-old relationship to another level and let’s hope it’s a roaring success.
If one of 2010’s most eagerly anticipated albums does benefit commercially from the Classic Rock gig then it could safeguard the future for rock’s print media for many years to come.
And guys like us will have to work even harder to provide a relevant and readable alternative on the web. We’re relishing the battle.