Online music magazine Stunt courts specialist audience

Both new online music magazine Stunt, which is preparing for launch, and Drowned in Sound, which is redesigning to mark its tenth anniversary, are aiming for a clean editorial-led and content-driven design to engage specialist audiences.

James McMahon, the founder of Stunt, who left NME as features editor to set up the title, is working with his in-house design team to create a magazine that caters for ’people who live music, rather than love it’, he says.

The music, clothing, film, fashion and politics found in rock ’n’ roll will be communicated through the site in an approach that McMahon says was left behind by the music magazines of the 1980s and 1990s.

McMahon says Stunt’s point of difference will be interaction with a specialist audience on a content-driven platform – something he thinks was lost as music magazines sought to address a wider audience.

Henry Jones and Talulah Wilson are Stunt’s in-house Web designers and art directors, tasked with developing McMahon’s vision.

Wilson, like McMahon, says online music magazines Pitchfork and The Quietus have been used as inspiration for Stunt’s ’clean look and feel, muted backgrounds and dark text’.

The Stunt holding site – which will be replaced by the full site in November – gives something of a hint at its direction, Wilson adds.

An Evel Knievel video background has been used to show that Stunt’s journey is ’unknown and thrilling’, according to McMahon – a sentiment Wilson says will be carried through to the site with imbedded video use and multimedia content, ’but not as a background’.

A print-style layout with the scope for long pieces of editorial will be applied, according to Wilson, who says box-outs and clean lines will be used. She adds, ’We really want it to capture the attitude of the writing. There will still be ads, but we won’t let it ruin the user experience.’

The programme Soundcloud is going to be used to allow artists to send and distribute music through the site, to be shared with readers.

Stunt’s identity, worked up by Wilson and Jones, has been designed, McMahon says, ’as though you could see it written on a kid’s jotter, or applied to a piece of clothing. We’ve got a strong understanding of Stunt’s brand identity and attitude’.

Meanwhile, Drowned in Sound, which has built up a loyal readership over its ten-year development, will relaunch in October to mark a decade online (current site pictured).

Site editor Sean Adams, who also had a hand in the design direction of website The Quietus, says, ’We’re currently working on a design that we hope will much better reflect the energy and passion of the site, while not seeming really cluttered or generic and essentially like every other bleeding site.’

’Flick-through racks’ will be the navigation point for reviews or searching for artists, and ’record recommendation’ will be brought out in the new design.

Adams says, ’We’re still a little way off having anything to see, as I’m still swapping e-mails entitled “What would Brian Eno do?” with our designer.’

Stunt and Drowned in Sound

  • Stunt is a new online music magazine pitching itself as ’the essential guide to good music and rock ’n’ roll culture’. It launches on 1 November
  • Drowned in Sound is an online music magazine planning a redesign to celebrate its tenth anniversary in October. It pitches itself as an interactive magazine covering the UK music scene

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