A digital-first music mag
From “zine” to full-fledged magazine
Unsung Sundays is something I started doing when I was in university: every Sunday, I would write a few album reviews and share them on Tumblr. It was the easiest way to share what I was listening to with a small group of friends (who were always asking). I don’t know if you remember doing this when you were young, but when I was a kid, we used to make our own “zines.” Zines were basically little magazines we’d make at home with clippings, or print from our computers, and we’d pass them around to our friends. Unsung started as the evolution of that kind of idea.
The blog caught on and got a little traction. Before I knew it, I had been writing it for years, and had amassed a catalogue of over 500 album reviews. But they were impossible to find — Tumblr isn’t great for SEO — and it wasn’t a great reading or browsing experience.
When we went on our honeymoon, my wife and I talked about spending some time making a website that would do my little e-zine justice. With her blessing, I spent the next few months making a website that was flexible enough to hold all the reviews — and new content, like lists and interviews.
From 0 to 900%
Since the beta launch in February and public launch in March, I’ve seen a 900% increase in month-over-month visits to the site. There have been acquisition talks and discussions about financial partnerships. It’s been an incredible journey, and again — it’s all been in a period of six months.
I think the ideas from the site have been fundamental to its success. Every week, I hear from multiple people who tell me Unsung has impacted on the way they discover music. The new website and branding has seen a several fold increase in engagement and also requests from musicians to be reviewed, featured, and interviewed.
Ultimately, I redesigned Unsung Sundays to look as professional as possible under the theory that a well-designed website would look more attractive and professional to musicians, publicists, and readers. Unsung is a small publication. Not many people write for it. Nobody is paid to do it. It’s entirely a labour of love.
What I learned is simple: good, clear, effective design can make an organization seem much bigger than it is. Good design creates opportunities.
Every week, I hear from multiple people who tell me Unsung has impacted on the way they discover music. The new website and branding has seen a several fold increase in engagement and also requests from musicians to be reviewed, featured, and interviewed.