RTPL Featured band: The Shins

If you’ve seen the movie “GardenState,” you may recall Natalie Portman’s character telling Zach Braff’s character that listening to the Shins would change his life forever.  We think it will change yours as well.  It’s a great time to start this life-altering experience because the Shins will release a new album, “Port of Morrow,” March 20.

Why they make the list: Singer James Mercer.  It’s that’s simple.  Although he will be backed by a completely new lineup for the band’s fourth release, his hauntingly beautiful crooning will still be at the forefront.

Learn more about the Shins: The February edition of Spin Magazine featured an interview with Mercer, where he talks about the band and the upcoming release. He also sheds some light into why he disbanded the ensemble and sought entirely new personnel.  If you didn’t have the chance to pick up a copy of last month’s Spin, you’re in luck.  You can read the interview here, or access the full magazine through your iPad.

To read the article on your iPad, download the “Spin Play” app.  As with the Shins’ music, this app could easily change your life.  At the very least, it will change how you read.  It features a digital, interactive version of the magazine with exclusive videos, streaming playlists, and up-to-the minute news and reviews.

A closer look at Spin Play: As with Mercer transitioning from his old Shins lineup, Spin is embarking upon something entirely new.  They are evolving with the times and catering to their audience.  So, how will a brand with its roots in print journalism measure success in the world of mobile?  Luckily for them, it will not be too different from how they have measured their readership engagement levels for their hard-copy magazine editions:

  • Perceived Usefulness: Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch says the app will live or die by the musical taste of its editors, and how useful the readers find the song recommendations.  This has always been the mark of success for Spin, except now they’re having to hit it head-on.  If readers of the print magazine learned about a band such as the Shins, they would have to later purchase the songs to see if the writers were credible.  Now, the proof is a click away.
  • Navigability: It will be very important for the Spin staff to measure how easy it is for users to navigate the app.  A reader has to scroll through pages, swipe across news updates, and click to launch content.  Yet, they have always had to be mindful of this metric, gauging the ease with which users could navigate through their print layouts.
  • Access: The company will also want to measure the accessibility of their app.  How easy is it to find in the Apple App store, how fast is the download, is it crashing when users try to launch it, and are subscriptions delivered to devices efficiently?  Yet, the magazine has historically had to be mindful of access, monitoring print distribution to subscribers, ensuring well-stocked supplies at retailers, and producing timely monthly editions.

Spin is fortunate that they have already established an online presence through the magazine’s website.  Many of the factors they need to measure in the mobile realm can be drawn from existing studies used to measure the success of websites.  It will be increasingly important to adapt these practices to mobile.  The Shins are not the only ones planning a March release.  Apple is slated to reveal the new iPad 3 on Wednesday.  If you plan to have one of these gadgets, be sure to use it to check out “Spin Play” – and the Shins!

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