The contention between print and online platforms has raged for some time now, and the threat of the technological era has well and truly terrified magazine and newspaper editors alike. Yet I’m certain that my reluctance to jump on the digital bandwagon is not an isolated case, and editors can rest assured that, at least for me, nothing could replace the slightly depraved satisfaction I get from smelling magazines, turning their glossy pages and tearing out posters of my favourite bands.
Currently, as consumers, as fans, as human beings in general, we are being bombarded with ‘apps’, online subscriptions, links, likes, tweets, and all the rest of it. And to an extent, I agree with the need to have an online presence. But, and without beginning a rant on technology’s involvement in our devolution as a society (for that is another blog post entirely), I think it’s important to find the right balance. Not everyone and everything needs to have a live feed. For example- no one wants to follow your tissues on Facebook, WhiteCloud.
However, one magazine I picked up this week had a great mediation between the print format I love so much and the interactivity of the digital platform. HEAVY is Australia’s newest metal magazine in print, with their second issue released late April. The coolest thing about this magazine is their use of QR codes. WOAH NOW, T-PAIN! What the heck is a QR code? Well, as HEAVY described them, QR codes are those “nightmare Lego looking thing[s]” that you are starting to see everywhere. Basically, they are high-tech barcodes you scan with your Smartphone that take you to all kinds of mystical and wondrous places in the digital world.
Although I’ve owned an iPhone for some time now, I’ve never bothered with QR codes because they’re foreign and I don’t like change. But I’ve borne the brunt of the digital barrage for y’all and I’m telling you it’s okay to step out of your analogue cave and try this out. Because seriously- what’s better than perusing a music magazine while listening to the very music you’re reading about? Best. Concept. Ever… Duh!
So why does it work? It’s the layout. Already aesthetically pleasing- tidy page structure, clear headlines and contrasting colour schemes- HEAVY’s QR codes are small, tucked neatly into a corner of the article and allow the reader to easily traverse the archives of YouTube, Reverbnation, BandCamp, MySpace, iTunes etc. It’s a perfect level of interactivity without too much exertion when you just wanna engage with some good ol’ Heavy Metal! Nice one!
Blog originally appeared on Media Analysis blog Media Musings