This year marks the 90th anniversary of Gramophone, the magazine that has been the bible of classical music lovers for most of that time. Founded in 1923 by the Scottish author Compton Mackenzie, Gramophone is today owned by the U.K. publisher Haymarket.
"We are delighted to launch this unique new magazine archive that traces the history of recorded classical music with our partners at Exact Editions," Luca Da Re, Brand Manager of Haymarket Media Group said. "Making all of the 110,000 pages of the archive searchable and available on PC, Apple and Android devices is a real breakthrough and we know classical music lovers will get hours of pleasure exploring Gramophone from issue 1 in April 1923."
The Gramophone Magazine app (iTunes link) is available for the iPad and Android tablets, as well as for the PC. Readers must subscribe directly through the Gramophone website as the app will only deliver a select number of pages to nonsubscribers.
There is no subscription page in the app, instead once a reader navigates through a few sample pages they then stumble upon a place where they can subscribe. It is terribly confusing, and not at all the standard way a reader subscribes in the Newsstand.
|If you can read this your eyes are better than mine.|
But the problem is that reading these replicas is a real pain – and while the effort may be worth it for issues from the 20's, it is not a very intelligent solution for today's issues.
The digital replicas do "contain" multimedia links. Tapping a link takes you out of the magazine to iTunes, where they are stranded.
Music and movie magazines are a great place where start-ups can dominate the digital field. A modern music magazine should be about text anyways, at least not on a tablet or smartphone, it is about audio (and video). So while I'm definitely grateful that 90 years of back issues of Gramophone are now available, but whether I feel it is worth the price of admission is questionable since the approach to today's issues is, well, antiquated.