Meals and Media


By Steve Oppenheimer

(May 2006)

Researching and writing a story takes time, regardless of the delivery medium, but once a story is written, it can be published on the Web or in an email newsletter almost instantaneously. With print magazines, the process takes a lot more time, because the magazines must be printed and shipped. But that’s not entirely a bad thing. There are pluses and minuses to each medium. It’s like choosing between great Italian, Thai, and Japanese food; all are nutritious, and each offers unique and wonderful flavors.

The print edition of EM is to us like what great pasta is to Italian food — the heart of the meal. The month we have in which to produce each print issue gives us time for in-depth research, thorough writing, and extensive editing and proofing. If necessary, we can postpone printing a story to further develop ideas, test and retest review products, and polish our prose until it shines. Graphics can be shown in high resolution without considering bandwidth. And while short items go over well online, most people prefer to read longer stories in a print magazine. In addition, they have the convenience of being able to carry the magazine around with them, rather than having to be near a computer in order to read.

When timeliness is all-important, as with breaking news, online delivery is hands-down better. That’s why we publish eMusician Xtra email newsletters, which have been so successful that we’ve sometimes even expanded the publication schedule to twice weekly. If you haven’t checked them out, go to our Web site at and sign up. Our newsletter subscriptions are free, and if you find that you don’t want to continue to receive them, you can opt out.

Another advantage to online content is the ability to deliver rich media, such as video and audio. We’ve long published EM Web Clips on our site, which offer audio and application-specific examples that enhance our print stories. We also have started producing online instructional videos, more commonly known as “Webinars” or “Seminars on Demand.” I promised that we’d have one or two featuring Korg USA sound designer Jack Hotop, and they are online now. To view them, follow the Seminars on Demand link from our home page. These seminars are a bit like sushi — the pieces are small but very tasty, and you feel great after consuming them.

Someday, many of the advantages of print will be subsumed by technological innovations. Flat-screen reading devices will be thinner, lighter, and at least equal in display resolution to print magazines. They will be so affordable and so well supported by publishers that they will be almost as ubiquitous as cell phones. Heck, they might also be cell phones. Products of this general type are already becoming available, although they’re not ready to take over the world yet.

Meanwhile, the combination of print, Web, and e-newsletters offers huge potential. We have lots of ideas for nutritious content and flavorful new products in all three media for those with a hunger for music-production knowledge. Feel free to feed me your suggestions for ways we can better take advantage of the print/online combination.