Singing News goes Digital

Singing News posted on their home page today that they are now offering a digital version of the magazine to print subscribers. They are also offering digital-only subscriptions for $5 less per year ($15 instead of $20). [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

This is a fascinating move that could have long-term significance for the genre. Singing News was purchased by Salem Communications several years ago. [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.] Salem is a Christian media conglomerate that owns and publishes, among other magazines, CCM Magazine and Gaither’s Homecoming Magazine.

Why does any of this matter?

It matters because Salem has been shifting its focus to web-based content. In fact, CCM Magazine, the flagship magazine in its genre, just mailed its final issue. Could the same fate be in store for Singing News?

I doubt that it will happen in the immediate future. Too many Southern Gospel fans are older and either (a) have no Internet access or (b) only know how to use email to get the emails and pictures from the grandkids. Singing News and Salem have to know this fact, and I doubt that they would phase the print magazine out precipitously. That said, offering digital downloads of the magazine to print subscribers, as well as web-only subscriptions, marks the first two steps in that direction.

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4 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Changes may come more quickly than anyone realizes. CCM ceasing in print after 30 years may just be the beginning of what could become another corporate media meltdown. Salem is already selling off some of their flagship radio stations and their stock has been hovering at a 52 week low. From 14.00 dipping down below 3 bucks a share at times over the past few weeks. Last year the company was over 350 million in debt and with changes in lending practices is most likely working overtime to cut out anything and everything they can. And since the religious right doesn’t have a candidate they can hang their hat on in this presidential campaign what do the talk jocks have to talk about these days on Salem’s Talk radio network?

    I think the biggest potential backlash may come from the artists themselves. Its one thing to sell a magazine subscription to a fan and have the paperwork to show for it (to make sure you get paid) but this online download may completely disrupt that artist/fan sales cycle. (Great for SN but not so good for the Singing Magazine Sales force which could soon be out of a job.) I’m just not sure how long artists will continue to push a magazine that no longer adds to their revenue stream. After all, the artists made more money per unit off selling a magazine subscription in the past than they did off their latest project.

    Wouldn’t that be a novel thought… Artists selling music at concerts again! WOW!!!

    Charles Brady

  2. I hate to be a profit of doom, lol, but , i think this will be the beginning of the end to the Singing News Magazine as we now know it.

  3. I love it! And I believe a lot of the elders are more Internet savvy than we give them credit for! As far as the groups selling SN, I am not familiar with the “behind-the-scenes” processing work, but I bet those details could be worked out, too.

  4. Singing News or Salem surely will find a way to allow the artists to be part of their sales team.
    It really makes a lot of “cents” to keep a ready built sales team moving forward.
    Ask how they they sign up new members to their site at the Homecoming concerts.
    Come to think of it, I think Salem/SN might all ready know how that could work in the future for the artist and them..
    SN is really starting to come of age these days.


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