Let’s Talk Magazines – Part 1: Beatroute

Let’s talk magazines.
Particularly, music magazines.

In my latest Publication Class assignment, we’ve been tasked in groups to create a new magazine (in my team’s case, it’s all about music magazines). Pretty sweet, being a musician myself.

As part of the research, it’s always a good idea to research the current competitors.
For this first analysis instalment, I’ll be looking at Beatroute magazine.

Self-described as “a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise,” Beatroute magazine circulates in Western Canada. Established in June 2004, the magazine has an Albertan edition, distributed in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, as well as a British Columbian edition, distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, with an average circulation of about 9000 copies.

Featuring mostly music (album reviews, concert reviews, local artist profiles,) as well as local arts and culture events. The magazine is packed with attitude, targeting an “alternative entertainment”/”music and style” niche. Targeting a young crowd of Western Canadians, aged approximately 18-34, this provincial English magazine is found both online and in print.

The website follows an almost blog-like format in its hierarchy, with feature bands and stories featured at the top of the page. Each web story indicates whether the story is an Albertan or British Columbian event or band. Vibrant photos of bands drive each story head, with hipster-glassed bandmates smiling at (or pensively perceiving) the viewer over a sans serif story.

Beatroute Magazine Cover

The print cover, available online, has a very distinct visual style. It’s both laid back and edgy, in an eclectic way. The black and white-clad “Rowdy Rock Duo” are almost reminiscent of a strange marriage, with a smoking bouquet and a black heart. It piques the interest of prospective readers by the obscuring the meaning.
The type is hand rendered and casual, setting a distinct vibe and tone.

The interior layout is set in four columns, with the body copy in a sans serif font. Eclectic interest is given to the photos through the use of photo frames. The header, on the other hand, is very different, hung on a clothes line and falling off grid in an attempt to add some tension. However, a strange white space is created which disconnects the title from the beginning of the paragraph, lining it up with the second column instead.

The photos, however, are interesting are create a real vibe and moodiness fitting the music magazine topic.

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