Music fans tune in to the digital revolution

Updated: 2013-04-18 10:14

By Mu Qian (China Daily)

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Music fans tune in to the digital revolution

[Photo/China Daily]

Legendary magazine Music Heaven is being resurrected online seven years after its last physical issue was published. Mu Qian reports.

Rock music fans in China have had reasons to mourn and celebrate over the last month because of the fates of two popular music magazines.

In March, Western Music published its last issue, while Music Heaven launched a new digital edition - seven years after stopping publication of its physical magazine.

"Half of the international music magazines we subscribed to have stopped their physical editions, like Spin, Ray Gun, Melody Maker, Sounds and many others," says Chen Huanzhong, publisher of the digital Music Heaven. "Going digital is an irrevocable trend for magazines."

The first digital issue of Music Heaven, which iPad users can download for free, has been downloaded about 50,000 times. Chen says he is happy with the figure, although it is still small compared to the physical magazine's circulation of 280,000 copies during its heyday in the 1990s.

Founded in 1992, Music Heaven focused on Western independent rock music, and became popular among Chinese college students and youths who were looking for sounds other than the Hong Kong and Taiwan pop songs that dominated China. For many people at that time, Music Heaven and its attached cassette (or later, CD) was the only channel to get information about the international music scene.

As the Internet began to offer more ways to access information, Music Heaven began to decline, eventually stopping publication in 2006.

Chen was Music Heaven's editor-in-chief from 1995 to 1996. He later worked as distribution director for 21st Century Business Herald and director of digital media under China Mobile's Wireless Music Club.

After years of development of China's digital media, Chen saw an opportunity to resurrect the Music Heaven masthead. Last year he bought the brand from the original company and began work on the digital version.

"Since Music Heaven stopped publication, I haven't really found a magazine that can replace it," Chen says. "I think the digital format gives us a chance to reassemble the group of readers who love independent music."

Chen expects digital Music Heaven's users to consist of the magazine's old readers and a new generation of music fans.

Music fans tune in to the digital revolution

Music fans tune in to the digital revolution

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