You’ve probably seen those “Power of Print” ads in food, travel, and news mags, reassuring us that magazines are alive and well in this age of being able to read Pynchon novels on our phones. I get asked fairly often whether Keyboard may go digital-only, so I wanted to share two recurring experiences that give me confidence we won’t be giving up the analog warmth of print anytime soon.
First, my job includes getting time out of, well, rock stars. The chief gatekeeper on this quest is the publicist, a creature that’s usually 20-something, ultrahipster, and eyeballs-deep in social media—the very demographic pessimists say is driving the decline of print. If that’s true, though, then why does nearly every publicist (who doesn’t already know Keyboard) inevitably ask me, “So, are you in print, or just online?” The emphasis is almost always theirs, and when I answer “print, monthly,” the gate almost always opens.
Second, a lot of readers have told me that the first thing they do when Keyboard arrives is flip through the ads to see what’s new. Moreover, readers who hunt back issues say they love the vintage ads. Ads people actively seek out? Not crazy talk—print. By contrast, an ad that interrupts what you’re doing on the computer just makes you mad at whoever put it there.
That’s why I’m bullish on our serving you and your music in print and online, and very much looking forward to new ways in which we’ll do this in the year ahead.