Pitchfork was one of few media outlets granted access to dance music duo Daft Punk ahead of its highly anticipated new album Random Access Memories. Determined to make the most of the opportunity, the online music mag ditched its regular templated site layout and instead created a multimedia experience to showcase the content it produced around it instead.
The results are impressive — and completely unlike the run-of-the-mill webpages you’re used to seeing. Stunning full-screen photography, video content, audio, and other interactive elements accompany the 6,000-word feature. It’s a welcome change from the industry-standard header, body, sidebar, ad impression approach used by most online publishers.
But that Daft Punk piece wasn’t a one-off; it’s part a broader strategy the publisher is pursing. It’s shunning the pageview and ad impression arms race that’s gripping the industry in an attempt to build its business the old fashioned way: By attracting an audience that’s loyal and engaged with its brand. Hence, the importance it places on finding new and interesting ways to present its content.
“Our goal is to be the best music magazine in the world, not the biggest,” said Matt Frampton, Pitchfork’s vp of sales. “We want to reach a specific breed of die-hard music fans, and there aren’t 100 million of those in the U.S. We’re not interested in the pageview or SEO games; for us, it’s about reaching and really engaging a relatively small group of passionate people.”
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