Remember ticket stubs and liner notes?
In the days before Ticketmaster went digital, you’d buy a ticket for a show and then treasure that torn stub for years, tucking it into a box on your dresser or tacking it to the bulletin board.
Buying music had a special charm too; the highlight of owning an album was that delicious moment when you pulled out the liner notes.
As our days fill up with digital everything, we long for the tangible, the real. It seems like something has truly been lost as the smooth, electronic screen replaces our “things.”
“I hate reading online,” said one respondent when we asked magazine readers about their digital magazine subscriptions. “I get enough of that at work.”
Amen, sister, we feel your pain.
Print publishers are in a perfect position to understand this longing for something real, something tangible, and are coming up with incredible innovations that can’t help but engage.
Music fans, for instance, seem to love the new ‘ZinePak concept (see the Innovations Magazine Media 2014 World Report, pg. 104), which aims to enhance the experience of purchasing and enjoying CDs. The package, which retails for just a few dollars more than the cost of a plain CD, includes small-format magazines packed with content, plus tangible collectibles like sticker packages, embroidered patches, even packets of wildflower seeds (ala Cheryl Crow).
It’s a far cry from the sterile experience of downloading a new album (can we even call them albums anymore?) from iTunes. In fact it takes us right back to our college dorm rooms when we’d tack the album poster up on the wall while playing that album for the first time. There was a sense of ownership, of engagement…this wasn’t just any band; this was MY band.
Millenials are eating up the idea, much the same way their Gen-Whatever parents savored their fan worship.
“Since launching in 2011, the company has sold US$25 million worth of ‘ZinePaks, with $12 million of that total coming last year alone at Walmarts (the primary purveyor),” notes Peta Anderson in the report.
Entrepreneur magazine’s chimed in on the trend, saying “ZinePak is reviving the market with a tangible configuration for 21st century music fans.” Co-founder Brittany Hodak says she harkened back to her childhood and the fan club magazine packages she used to buy in records stores.
“That was kind of what inspired the idea, this throwback of taking all of the great things that were available when there was no ‘online’ . . . it was all about engaging with them through their physical packaging.”
Innovators like ‘ZinePak’s founders deserve all the kudos being heaped on their 20-something shoulders.
“ZinePak’s approach to print as a tangible medium in which that tangibility is a primary asset … is the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that’s keeping print media as exciting and sustainable as digital,” raves Anderson.
It’s fantastic, really, to see young business owners so clearly understand the power of print to engage a fan base. Makes me want to rifle through that old box of ticket stubs and relive some great memories.