As music magazines struggle in the emerging environment, some going all digital, others are exploring paid options. NME is experimenting with an alternative to paywalls with the offering of a feature on HAIM as a separate digital download. It's a fairly small bit of news but points to a larger digital publishing environment in which repackaging and enhancing content has shown signs of success even when the content is available in separate pieces for free online. But even an "enhanced" feature is only a small step towards what's possible.
I could only find this feature via a link from news coverage. When I went to NME I found the regular digital edition which presumably contains a replica of the print version of the HAIM feature. I'm not sure how they're targeting or marketing that offering but it's nevertheless a smart path to explore for many reasons including:
Successful online experiments with rebundling content include multiple variations on creating books based on free available content or blog posts and pricing options that include free online and paid ebook or print copy.
One-off extended features are currently showing returns for publishers with Amazon even creating a series called Kindle Singles.
Traditional magazine features often generate a lot more content than makes it into the article, including photographs, anecdotes, quotes and historical references, so there's often a lot to work with.
For a publication that's already covered a particular act, especially over a period of years, the ability to create not just an "extended feature" but a low-cost digital ebook for fans exists. Whatever you call it, I think there's a big digital sales opportunity that music publications have been missing and NME is simply scratching the surface with this effort.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.