Guitar World has introduced a paywall for its online articles. The website, one of the biggest online guitar magazines, is the first of its kind to introduce an online paywall, which is now being operated alongside its traditional print subscription.
If you’ve read five or more articles on Guitar World’s website in the last month, the paywall will begin to appear across the website’s news, features and reviews. It has also been implemented on the online versions of Future Publishing’s other guitar-related titles – Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar Techniques and Bass Player, however, it doesn’t currently appear on MusicRadar, which is also owned by Future and publishes guitar-related content.
The paywall appears after the first few paragraphs of each article, cutting off the remaining text. Clicking the sign-up link leads you to an account creation page, which asks you to submit your email address. Once an account has been created, and payment information in order to sign up for an account and continue reading. Subscriptions are priced at either £2.99/$3.99 per month, or £29.00/$39.00 per year.
Guitar World is the first notable guitar-focused online publication to implement this style of paywall. More general news outlets such as The Washington Post and The New York Times have, however, maintained one over the past few years.
In part, paywalls such as these help counteract the effects of adblockers and maintain a more reliable revenue stream from online content. However, the reaction from readers is often mixed, to say the least. In reaction to this, some outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent instead opt for a ‘soft’ paywall – offering readers the choice of subscribing in exchange for various benefits, most often (guilt-free) advert-free browsing, and the removal of obstructive reminders to subscribe. It is unclear at present whether subscribing to Guitar World disables adverts on the site.
Last year, Future Publishing reported that its profits had almost doubled to £107.8 million for 2020/2021, despite an industry-wide decline in print magazine readership.
Guitar World did not immediately respond to a request for comment.