I’m looking at the Gramophone subscription packages as possible Christmas presents (I can’t post links to commercial sites under forum AUP, but just google Gramophone Subscriptions Packages and you’ll see what I’m looking at). Some questions have occurred to me:
The Gramophone Reviews and Gramophone Digital Edition packages cost the same but it looks like the Digital Edition includes a lot more ‘searchable archive material’ (back to 1923, as opposed to 1983, for example). Is there something better about the Reviews package that justifies it costing the same as the Digital Edition? Does the ‘searchable archive material’ in the Digital Edition not include the actual reviews?
Both the above packages are described as ‘from £6.87/month’ but just paying once for a year is £77 which works out at £6.42 per month - or I’ve lost the ability to divide numbers by 12!
it’s the old reviews and more historical articles that I’m going to have most interest in, to be honest, hence why I’m comparing those two options. Does anyone use the Reviews package and know how it compares to what’s available on the Digital Edition option?
Do think whether a subscription to Gramophone is worthwhile before committing yourself to a subscription.
I started buying the magazine every month while I was at University, and continued to do so for almost thirty years. It used to be a publication of record, with eminent musicologists contributing reviews of great weight and sophistication - people such as Richard Osborne, Robert Leighton, with Edward Greenfield providing the occasional (unintended) comic relief. I remember an extraordinary two-page review which greeted Carlos Kleiber’s recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which described the release of the LP “as if Homer had come back to recite The Odyssey”.
Anyway, I gave up buying the magazine about ten years ago, as it no longer had great writers contributing great reviews. It had become (in my opinion, of course) not much more than a comic.
Of course, things may have changed, and it may be very much better again. I suggest that you buy an issue each month for six months or so, and see how you get along, before you commit yourself to an annual subscription.
I don’t have the reviews database but do have the digital edition.
As I understand it, the reviews database is a way to access all the reviews of a particular piece of music, going all the way back. Whereas the digital edition allows you to access all copies of the magazine going all the way back. They appear in the app and on eg an iPad you can read any magazine just as if it were a print copy. So finding the review of a particular album would mean knowing which month/year it released and finding it. In modern reviews, when a reviewer mentions an existing release, they usually mention the month/date too. So you can work that way.
I don’t agree with Graham’s assessment. I think Gramophone magazine is unique and excellent. Whether it’s worth the money only you can decide. But I would definitely say subscribe for a year rather than buy six copies. It won’t cost a lot more as you don’t get a discount buying copies from a newsagent!
Anyway Gramophone have a three months for £3 offer, so that’s the quick and cheap way in at the moment.
The other suggestion I have is that if you want to know more about what you get with different offers, ring their subscription department up. It’s not a massive call centre somewhere overseas. When I called them a couple of years ago to change my print subscription to a digital subscription I spoke to a very friendly and helpful woman for several minutes while she checked out that I really did know what I was asking for and I had to specifically ask her to put it on repeat subscription. Her instinct was to do it only for one year so I could see whether I “got on” with the digital edition.
So in summary if you want to read the reviews of different versions of Beethoven’s 5th or whatever, the reviews database is going to be make that very easy. If you want to read the feature articles in the magazine, then you need the digital edition. You will have access to all the reviews too, but via the magazines not through a quick access reviews index.
Ps, the person I met was really interesting from music point of view. He said that he had over 10k records back in the days but that he had to reduce to 500 when he moved in a care home recently. I asked about symphonies, and he responded instantly on the questions I asked.
Sometimes people are really interesting to meet.
He’s promised me a turntable, he has a few in storage.
If you are a member of a public library service, it’s worth checking if they offer an e-magazine service, such as Libby. You could access the digital version free of charge. (Along with many other magazines).