RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

tokafi: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

img  Tobias Fischer

Webzines, after all, are based on old mechanisms of album release cycles and pr. As the „music industry“ is gradually moving away from this and as listening to music is turning from being a linear experience into one which moves through time in all directions and through manifold genres, so, too, should music journalism. From my point of view, it is the task of a publication to inspire its readers to explore, deliver unique and in-depth infomation and provide a sense of direction amidst an otherwise confoundingly complex ocean of sound. It is not just about writing a beautiful review, but about caring for what happens after the review, of providing the reader with the option of continuing his journey. And with this in mind, a different kind of content is required, which simply isn't being produced right now.

More to the point, the thoughts running through my head have dealt with all aspects of tokafi – the general philosophy and design of the site, the content itself, the way it is presented, the way things are run and also with the way they are financed:

  • To anyone who has ever looked into the numbers knows that traffic in itself tells you nothing about the value you're creating – unless you want to earn your living by selling google ads or banner advertising. Since ads only really work for mass content anyway, we want to move away from the traffic model and towards content that approaches topics from an angle that will remain relevant over longer stretches of time. In short, we're looking for a format that is both a magazine and a pool of resources.
  • In a time when there is more music available than ever before, the process of searching and selecting should take center stage for a music magazine. I feel these journalistic duties are hampered by a model where a publication only reviews what they are sent. Also, I'm increasingly seeing it as a problem that journalists are put into a position where they no longer have to pay for any music at all anymore. For one, this is depriving labels and artists of some of their strongest supporters, as many of today's „journalists“ are simply fanatic music fans operating a blog. And secondly, overly easy access to music dillutes the selection process. By having to share the cost of music production, journalists are once again put into a position where they really have to think about what to select rather than ordering Gigabytes of music for free. This amounts to a rethink of the magazine model: The usual idea has been that a journalists gets paid for a review through a free copy of the music. I would rather the model were such that a journalist pays artists and labels for the music and then gets paid by his readership (for example through a name your price system) in turn for the content he produces.
  • Thanks to the Internet, listeners can now literally gorge themselves on information and music. The one edge a music journalist holds over an increasingly educated audience is not so much his education, but his position of being able to actually go out and meet the artists, to ask and follow up the really important questions and to portray them more deeply than just through listening and browsing online interviews. An essential part of the future tokafi concept will therefore involve meeting as many people in person as possible rather than just communicating by email.
  • Finally, there are two ways of reacting to the overload of music that's out there: Either by listening to (or rather briefly tapping into) as much as possible. Or by treating it as a huge pool of resources from which to choose and then to uncover something precious and returning to it again and again over an extended period of time. I'm tending more towards the latter – and from reading a recent blog entry from Jonathan Lees, I am pretty sure I'm not the only one. The value of music depends not just on what we are willing to pay for it and how much of it we own, but on how carefully we listen. So the idea will be to write about less music, but to do this in a way that will inspire a deeper interaction with a particular composition.

In short, there will be changes. Some parts of the site will disappear completely. Parts of the site will be spun off and start a new life of their own. Other parts yet will be transformed. And finally, there will be entirely new content. The result will be a new tokafi website and a completely different journalistic concept. The reviews aren't going away, they're merely being presented in a format which will do the music and the writing better justice. And hopefully, this will lead to a more unique and personal experience on your visits.

Starting February, we'll enter a phase of slowed-down of activities and the production of content for the relaunch. Sometime in the Summer, there'll be a hiatus before we return with a new website towards the end of the year. Thank everyone for the ride so far. To everyone who sent us promos, to everyone who mailed us with encouraging words and who helped or assisted us in any way. If all goes well, the best is yet to come.

Related articles

tokafi: Off on Vacation!
This last week, there have ...
Bösendorfer & Markson Pianos: Sales Event benefits Festival
After being selected as one ...
Nodar Artist Residency: A Rural Portuguese Multimedia Project
Between July 11th and 18th, ...
Gabriel Prokofiev: Concerto for Turntable rocks the RSNO
The grandson of one of ...

Partner sites