Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Music Magazine Evaluation

For my media AS level work, I had to design and create a music magazine. The genre was to be of our own choice. I choose the genre R&B, as there aren’t many existing magazines of this genre out already. We had to consider our audience and who they would be. And design it to satisfy their wants and needs. For example, what they wanted to be included within the magazine. To find out what our audience wanted we had to carry out a lot of research through questionnaires and the Internet. I also researched the history of my genre of music, R&B. I knew quiet a bit about the genre as I listen to the music myself but there was a great deal I didn’t know. We had to look at existing music magazines available at the moment and see how they were presented. We then had to consider such things as forms and conventions to make sure that we new what to guide by when making our own magazines. Overall I feel that my magazine looks good. However, obviously there is always room for improvement. Within this evaluation I will talk about the processes that I went through to produce my product and how it relates to my audience and the reader.

In what ways does your media product use develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
My music magazine, Rhymes and Beats, uses the forms and conventions of real media products. This includes the way I have stuck to the average layout of a typical magazine. For example I have included a main picture on the front cover considering all the elements of it such as the lighting, facial expressions etc. I chose to design my masthead to be big and cold to stand out and attract the readers ere. I kept it short and straight to the point so that the reader knows exactly what the magazine is going to be about. I have also used several distinctive coverlines on the front page to draw the reader in. I researched magazines of the same genre of music as my own magazine, R&B. I looked at the forms and conventions of the existing magazines and put them into practice in my own magazine. For example when designing my contents page I looked at the layout of a contents page from a NME magazine. It consisted of several headings with underneath it articles such as a specific artist interview, album reviews etc. I used the idea of this within my own contents page, which looked effective as it clearly shown what was going to be included throughout my magazine. I also looked at several layouts of double page spreads of artist interview. Each of which consisted of a few pictures with text of the interview around it. They also had a catchy sentence under the Artists name to tell the reader what the artist is like. Like my contents page, I used these forms and conventions when designing my own double page spread. When considering the forms and conventions of my music magazine I had to consider the audience that I was targeting it at. I carried out some research via a questionnaire and handed them out to the age ranges I was aiming at which was 13-25 year olds. I used my results and took them into consideration with the designing of my magazine as I needed to make sure it would be suitable for my target audience. For example, if I had been designing my magazine for a pop magazine, the forms and conventions would have been different. This is because pop magazines are generally aimed at a younger audience so would have included more pictures than text. I haven’t challenged the forms and conventions of real media products, as I believe it needs to be done with knowledge of what it is you’re doing, and an awareness of the implications of your decisions.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?
In my opinion my magazine would represent young black and white, working class groups. This is because I don’t believe the type of genre of music that it contains would appeal to middle or upper class individuals. Rhymes and Beats represent those of the age of 13-25 because with a bit of research I found that this is the age range that listens to R&B the most. My magazine is mainly aimed at females as generally I found that the majority of people that listen to R&B are females. I researched into the history of R&B and found that it was created by African Americans and was firstly just aimed at their ethnicity. However as time has gone on and music has progressed it is not just intended for black people but black and white as it is heading much more mainstream. My peer group mainly listen to this music and I feel that there aren’t many magazines representing teenage females of all ethnic backgrounds. From my research I discovered that there aren’t magazines representing different backgrounds that enjoy the genre of music. For example my peers of mainly female but a few guys all listen to this music but cant find magazines that appeal to their taste in music and artists. Therefore I believe that it was a good idea to produce a magazine of this genre. Also because I thought that my peers couldn’t be the only ones that feel like there isn’t a magazine that fits the criteria. Lastly, through my images and choice of language I showed what my magazine represents. I posed my model in a confident way, which is how stereotypically, people of the genre R&B would come across. I also used the use of language of slang to show the representation of particular social groups.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
The type of media institution that would distribute my media product would be my own individual company so that I do not have to work for anyone. There are existing magazines, which do the same such as word, which seem to be successful being independent. I could see the benefits of being within a big music institution such as Bauer media which, founds such big magazine names such as NME, as you would be widely known and you would get a lot of publicity. But I wish to make my product its own music institution consisting of the magazine followed by a music channel and maybe even a radio station. I would like for my media product to be individual and unique and to be given its own label and not to be classed with other magazines of the same institution. This is so that my media product would be known for its own reasons not because of whom it belongs to.

Who would be the audience for your media product?
The audience of my music magazine would be predominantly females aged 13-25 with most working full time jobs. Obviously aiming at the ABC1 category as this group has the most disposable income which is what media institutions focus on. My audience would be generally outgoing and like to party. They are very loyal to their genre of music, R&B, but will listen to similar genres such as Hip Hop. They do not like to try out many other genres of music as they are all seen to be as ‘un cool’. They believe that it is important to keep up to date with the latest music and listen to their music pretty much every day. They also believe that it is important to have the latest technology and trends and to keep up with the latest fashion. They like to read about their favourite artists and the latest music in the charts, as they like to be ‘in the know’. They also like to read about single or album reviews so that they can see what they want to buy. They look at their favourite artists and bands as role models or heroes and most dream of being like them when they grow up. Their average spends per month on luxuries would be CDs: £32, DVDs: £25, Concerts/Live events: £23, Cinema tickets: £14, Downloads: £25.50 and Clothing: £60. This shows that they spend a lot on luxuries but this doesn’t concern few as they get their disposable income off of their parents.

How did you attract/address your audience?
I used many skills and techniques to address and attract my target audience. Firstly, to draw the attention of my audience I researched the types of topics that they would like to read about and used them as my coverlines. I added catchy phrases and words that they would use in their daily dialogue, such as “Swizz” and “fresh”. This is so that they can relate to the magazine and so that it would appeal to them. Also the use of a new R&B artist as the main image on the front cover is another way of attracting my audience, as they would want to read about any new music artist out to be up to date with new music. The use of colours that I have used are also appealing to my audience as they are attractive and look effective with the colours that the artist on the front is wearing. Lastly, I used the element of a USP, which were free tickets to see Chris Brown live in concert. I thought that this would definitely attract my audience as Chris Brown is a very popular and successful artist within the world of R&B therefore my audience would be more than likely to want to take any opportunity to see him perform. I also considered the type and size of text to attract my audience. I selected an interesting and appropriate type of text to use that I thought would appeal to my target audience as I wouldn’t want to choose a boring text as they wouldn’t want to read it.

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
From the process of constructing my magazine I learnt many things about technologies. I learnt how to take effective and precise pictures through a digital camera, considering all the elements to make it to be a successful picture such as the lighting, angle, costume of model etc. I took over 45 pictures and realised that only about 5 was good enough to use. This was due to the pictures being out of focus, not angled correctly and the lighting not being correct. It took a lot of time and process to get the pictures I wanted. I also progressed on my picture editing skills, such as cropping, re-sizing and changing of contrast of the picture. This helped me to achieve the effect I wanted. To develop my main cover and contents page I used a piece of software called Macromedia Fireworks which allowed me to create and edit my magazine. I had used this software before but from using it repetitively throughout the process of my magazine it helped me to discover new skills and to develop on the skills I had already. To construct and design my double page spread I used Microsoft publisher which was a piece of software that I hadn’t used before. It was quite easy and straight forward and I didn’t encounter many problems on the way. Overall I feel like my knowledge of technologies have improved considerably in many areas and I feel much more confident especially with taking pictures as this was an area that I wasn’t too confident in to begin with.

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
From looking at my preliminary task of a school magazine and comparing it to my music magazine I feel like I have improved considerably. I encountered many problems when designing my school magazine, such as what colours to use, what articles to include, the size of the text and the type of language of my writing. To rectify the problem of what articles to use I should have carried out a lot more research so to make sure this wasn’t a problem within my music magazine I carried out many different types of research to find exactly what my readers wanted to read about. The choice of colours was also a problem within my music magazine. I produce a great colour scheme for my front cover and I was very pleased with what I had produced. However, when I took the picture of the model for my main image, the clothing of what he was wearing did not suit the colours that I had chosen to use for my main cover. Therefore, I had to change the colours of my main cover completely to suit what my model was wearing. In future, I would consider before hand what colours my model would wear to suit my colour scheme so the problem would not re-occur as it cost me time that I did not have. Also another problem that I considered when designing my music magazine was the size of text that I had used. In my school magazine I noticed that the text that I used was over-sized for my audience therefore I made sure that the size of text that I used for my music magazine was appropriate. Lastly, a main problem that I had in my preliminary task was the use of language that I used. I did not think about my target audience when considering the type of language that I used within the magazine. Therefore in my music magazine I thought about what type of things my readers would say and used those types of phrases throughout my magazine. This is so that they could associate to my magazine and feel involved.
If I was to go through the process again I would do a lot of things much more differently. I would have taken a lot more pictures of different types of people wearing different types of clothing and selected the best and most appropriate one for my genre of music. I also would have given myself more time to research deeper into my target audience’s wants and interests which would help to make them more interested in my magazine which would lead to me selling more magazines. I would also change the genre of music that I choose. This is because I found it very hard to produce a magazine of this genre because I couldn’t find many existing R&B magazines around therefore I didn’t really have any magazines to look at to get ideas for my own. I would most probably choose to make a pop magazine as I believe you can be very creative with it and there are many pop magazines out already to look at and to gain ideas from.

Contents page

Double page spread

Front Cover

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Textual analysis of contents pages

I looked at the similarities and difficulties of the contents pages of ‘word’ and ‘NME’ and this is what I came up with:

1. Mise-en-scene

The people on the contents page of Word are dressed much more smartly than those in NME. Those in NME are more casually dressed. The lighting in Word is higher key than NME. There are a range of different facial expressions in Word then in NME there facial expressions look as if they are concentrating on their performance. The body language in NME is natural as they are singing whereas the body language of the actors in Word are more posed. In both magazines the prop that is used is a guitar. Lastly, the background is not clear in the contents page of word whereas in NME you can clearly tell they are in a concert.

2. Music artist profiles

There are six different music profiles in the contents page of Word and just one min one in NME.

3. Layout and style of language

The layout of the contents page of Word is very boring and plain where NME looks better laid out with more information and more things to look at. The language of Word uses quotes from interviews of stars only. The language of NME is informal because it uses words such as “Oasis kicked off their world tour” it would be worded much differently if ti was formally written.

4. Any music genre conventions?

Word is fairly simple and has the standard way but NME is very cramped and looks more stuffy and a bit indie whereas Word is more than one type of genre.

5. Regular sections of the magazine

It isn’t clear what the regular sections of the magazine are as the contents page of Word is very limited in its description. However in NME it is clear that it has all the typical album/single reviews and new bands etc.

Reader profile

Rhymes ‘n’ Beats reader profile

Female ………………………. 65%
ABC1…………………………. 85%
Still studying…………………. 32%
Working full time…………….. 68%


7 out of 10 readers have bought a
single/ album by the
feature on the front cover.

Likes to keep up to date

 82% say its important to keep up with the latest music
 92% listen to music every day
 79% think its important to have the latest technology
 65% Keep up with the latest fashion

Average spends per month:

CDs: £32
DVDs: £25
Live events: £23
Cinema tickets: £14
Downloads: £25.50
Clothing: £60

Circulation: 65,235
Readership: 290,000