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Age of Audio

Magazine Online: one idea, one experience

For whoever wants to publish and share information, news, curiosities and specific contents (art, music, culture…), there is no better and easier way than writing a journal on an online magazine.

Ideas, originality, knowledge: these are the main ingredients to successfully create an online magazine. What is crucial, is neither the style texts are written nor the visual impact of the magazine. It’s the awareness that there are specific rules to follow. Proceeding without a landmark isn’t a great option.
Once you deepen the normative aspect, especially the part concerning Privacy, the planning of the online magazine requires a CMS-software and the definition of its periodicity.
The Content Management System (CMS) is a program which allows Users to structure the magazine as they want to by designing its layout.
Periodicity instead is another requirement which must be wisely valued to keep the journal on its feet.

There are also other element that are essential for the correct functioning of the magazine.
It’s necessary to define a territoriality to contextualize the specialization regarding topics aimed at a target of users, without forgetting interactivity: they should be allowed to comment, participate to a survey, express their opinions about news and contents.

It is also benefitial to take a look into other websites and take inspiration from their style. Last but not least never underestimate the economic sustainability: the idea must be innovative appealing capture the attention of a big audience, and obviously generate an economic income.

Interview to Antonio Campeglia
Editor of the online music-magazine:”Age of Audio”, based in Naples

“A piece dedicated to the ones who rely on “Age of Audio”, who want to discover its history, from the beginning up to now, its activities and the soul that moves them…”

Logo Age of Audio
Logo Age of Audio

M.G. Which were your first experiences in this field before “Age of Audio”?

“I moved my first steps in an online magazine (www.wapparia.it) created 15 years ago by Fabio Pesce, a friend of mine and editor of Age of Audio. Then I cooperated with a paper magazine (CM2 Magazine): a very demanding job, no mistakes were tolerated and everything had to be perfect before print-out. Unfortunately this magazine failed and so some editors and I gathered our energies and channeled them into a new magazine (www.digitalaudiocentral.it) until, after two years, I founded a brand new magazine: my own, Age of Audio.

M.G. When and why is Age of Audio born?

“Age of Audio emerged from the ashes of CM2 Magazine in 2009. At the beginning I thought it would be convenient, and even sufficient, to use the WWW to catalogue and save the work my colleagues and I produced in a two-years-period. Only later, with the implementation of this idea, I decided to write articles, and that brought me to meet my first director, who supported me throughout the whole editing and publishing process”.

M.G. What is the magazine about?

“The magazine is originated by my passion of writing down articles. Initially i wrote exclusively about my field of knowledge, which is music instruments and professional musical software, because I relied only on my personal expertise. But then, for every magazine evolves into something more and more complete, I decided to widen the themes discussed in Age of Audio to avoid making it a niche one: new articles were added about guitars and Djing, tutorials of very famous programs like “Finale”, run by “Maestro” Beppe Bornaghi. This is the only section handed to a person who is the biggest expert in Italy of the product, and it’s a way to improve the quality of the magazine. Besides, in this period I decided to add a new tutorial about the competitor product, which will be analyzed and presented by a skilled person”.

M.G. Which are the potential customers and how many readers does it have?

“The magazine is extended on a wide perimeter of visualization: we count around 50.000 subscribers of the Newsletter, therein 30% from abroad. According to Google Analytics we have 5600 readers per day with an average of 4 articles for each”.

M.G. Is it a magazine that offers multimedia contents as well?

“Absolutely. Today is indispensable to support most articles by means of a video or an audio. The reader is really demanding: he isn’t satisfied just with the text, He wants to listen to and specially to watch. And our goal is to make the users happy”.

M.G. Does Age of Audio have a foreign audience? Which is the importance of having a multilingual website?

“We have a good amount of followers, mainly from Spain and South America: articles translated in Spanish and Portuguese have 40% more views than the ones in english. Therefore providing the readers the possibility to know the potential and functionalities of products which aren’t sellable in Italy is important. This way we receive a lot of requests from small firms abroad that ask us to test and rate new products”.

Age of Audio - Sezione multilingue-
Age of Audio – Sezione multilingue-

M.G. How is an editorial business run and how are the articles published?

“Every editor is specialized in a specific sector. Some write articles as their main occupation, others instead perform various activities, usually music schools or recording studios, consider this work a hobby. In fact everyone’s task is to examine and test a product, providing the readers with the most accurate and objective rating.
Sometimes products, with imperfections or instability, are sent back to the producer with the remarks of the editor, as if it were a beta-testing. Once the problems are solved, the product is tested and rated again.

This process may seem unfair and misleading, because if a product is noteworthy, the customers have the right to know precisely on what they are spending their money for. This depends on how negative the review of the tester is. In most cases, if the machine or software presents just some slight problems, if the advertisement greatly overvalues the product which is still valid, then the review is immediately published.

On the other side, if the product does not convince the editor, it’s no worth to spend further time and effort. The result of the test might be spoiled by an error of valuation regarding the target the product is aimed at. At the end of the test I always require imaged of the product while it’s being used and if possible for some audio-files. Once the writer delivers it, the article is handed over to the proofreader, who does corrections to the minimum possible, in order not to change its nature. Afterwards it’s sent to the webmaster or to me to define the layout. Then it arrives on our expert SEO desk, who creates the tags to improve the visibility of the article on the web’s search engines. Sometimes it is advertised on Social Networks and forums”.

M.G. How do you find the products that are tested?

“When one of my cooperators buys a product that seems interesting, he contacts me to ask my opinion about reviewing it. Sometimes, instead, when an instrument or a software draws the attention of an editor, I’m asked to test and study them. In this case I personally borrow one and hand it over to one of my editors to begin the review. Almost always, if we get the direct authorization, in case of products which aren’t private, we value the possibility to compare it to other similar ones. So most tested instruments are bought by them or lent by friends. Others instead are sent by dealers or directly by manufacturers”.

M.G. Do editors have obligations while writing an article?

“Editors have really few guidelines, due to layout rules. The only rule is not to send articles to the manufacturers to have their approval or opinion: they can ask me information regarding problems that can be found”.

M.G. How do you handle your multilingual section?

“Once the article is written, before advertising it and creating the SEO section, it is submitted for supervising of Gabriela Pentelescu, journalist and responsible for the multilingual section. She checks the quality of the translations, verifies their accuracy and follows publication”.

Gabriela Pentelescu
Gabriela Pentelescu

M.G. Which are the advantages and disadvantages of an online magazine?

“Advantages are remarkable: you are able to correct an article at the right moment and keep it updated by adding Demos; once the test is finalized the review can be immediately published, without waiting for a certain amount of articles, problem that occurs in a paper journal. But there is a negative aspect in running an online magazine: trying to beat the competitors we often risk to leave some details less-deepened and to be too superficial.
Another important aspect is Privacy and, in general, respecting the proceedings of The Competition Authority: the gathering of personal data of the ones who enter the website, until the enrollment in the newsletter, must happen in safety, informing subscribers about the possible treatment of their personal data. For this reason just from the beginning we relied on Diego Cordua, a lawyer; he, besides being responsible for legal, became an editor and started writing articles about copyright”.

M.G. How are Demos produced?

“Audio Demos are produced by individual editors in their private Home Studios to preserve musician’s spontaneity and originality.

Every editor who writes on our magazine is a musician as well, and two of them are journalists who work even in other fields: Maestro Capozzi and Gabriela Pentelescu.

Videos instead are a bit more difficult to be inserted: they require a professional audio support; i’m thinking of a great studio in Naples, “The Control Room”, which i’m really bond to because i do get along with the two sound engineers, who share with me the same aesthetic sense about filming and editing: few effects and plenty of substance”.

M.G. If a product is directly sent to you by a firm, will this action influence your judgment?

“If the relation between us and the firm happens to be trustworthy, they know our way of working and we don’t receive particular requests about magnifying the product: we know there is no perfect one. Every product can present some flaws, maybe due to the issuing of a first release, which, once discovered, will be corrected and the new-improved version will replace the former one. Sometimes firms thank us not only for having found bugs, but even for having solved them”.

M.G. Why doesn’t Age of Audio have a real-time forum? They are usually a great source of users.

“I don’t really like forums: most of them are run by people who never handle a product by themselves, but only handbooks, numbers and data. We have a different target”.

M.G. What are, according to you, the strengths of the magazine?

“There are many: first, the team of editors is skilled and always able to face the task, which is always completed to the best of our abilities though being objective. Any product showing flaws is analyzed responsibly and, if it is a really thrilling one, it is praised for its qualities but never overrated. Besides that, every editor has his own freedom and mind, that isn’t influenced; this happens for other magazines as well. I always try not to use the language and the proceedings of a test and for this -I believe – the magazine has come to be seen not as a single unit, but as a puzzle to which every editor adds a piece of their mind: this is noticed and appreciated by our readers.

Another strength is that I am used to take the whole responsibility on my shoulders as chief of the magazine: I want the editors to be accountable and to grow by assigning them products which might have remarkable impact on the website visitors. And this is what makes the difference towards other magazines”.

M.G. How do you choose your cooperators?

“Most of them are old friends of mine who I shared my work experiences with; the remaining ones are people I met during trainings I attended to. Usually I choose musicians who use different instruments and brands. I like to cooperate with open minded people and unbiased to different brands, who therefore can objectively analyze a product”.

M.G. How many cooperators does age of audio have?

“Our team is made of about 40 people: editors, lawyers, web designers and SEO supervisors. About thirty of them work full time; the other ones work occasionally, as this is not their main job”.

M.G. What would you advise to a beginner who wants to start his own magazine?

“The first step is having to have a clear project from the start and to know how to relate to people, how to discuss. I personally don’t like editorial projects who rely on a single person, even good skilled. Is important not to overdo: don’t be SEO supervisor, web designer… Don’t close your mind to other people and ideas. If it’s your first experience, be informed about laws and Privacy, never underestimate it. As soon as you start to succeed, ask the opinion of an expert. At last, have an initial and a final objective, be ready to face difficulties that may happen (and they will), but above all BE ORIGINAL!”

Martina Gavezzotti

About Martina Gavezzotti