One of Singapore’s longest-running music publications has fully migrated to digital, in yet another case of media companies being overwhelmed by the costs of going to print.

In an internal email sent on Friday (May 26), JUICE Singapore announced their decision to end their monthly print edition. The switch to digital also sees a revamped website.

However, JUICE Singapore will not be letting go of the typewriter entirely. The team will still be releasing an annual print edition, along with “special events to complement the digital content”.

At its inception in 1998, JUICE Singapore was focused on covering Singapore’s street culture. Over the years, JUICE Singapore has expanded to focus on local and international music, fashion, beauty and the arts.

JUICE set up shop across the causeway in 2002 with the launch of JUICE Malaysia. Today, JUICE Malaysia has a larger online following than their mothership here.

The publication also expanded into Indonesia in 2005, gaining thousands of followers on their social media pages. However, these pages were last updated in March 2017.

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Former editors of JUICE Singapore have also gone on to lead other local publications. Current Bandwagon Asia editor Hidzir Junaini was with JUICE Singapore from 2011 to 2015, and says he already “felt the tide shift” during his time there, making the switch to digital “inevitable”.

“When it comes to journalism, print has been slowly losing the battle against digital for some time now, and it’s only going to get worse. It’s even more pronounced with a publication like JUICE Singapore, because their target demographic of teens and young adults consume information very differently today than they did when JUICE rose as a local street culture bible during the early and mid-2000s.

“Even during my tenure as JUICE Singapore’s music writer and editor between 2011 to 2015, I was already starting to feel tide shift, the switch to become an online-only mag seemed inevitable. It’s wise for them to follow JUICE Malaysia’s decision to migrate fully to digital some months ago, and there a number of advantages to this move, but a number of challenges as well.

“Printing overheads, the struggle to split pages between editorial and ads, and the hassle of having to edit everything down due to space constraints is something I think no online journalist can understand unless they’ve been there. But on the flipside, when I moved to music site Bandwagon Asia, I found myself struggling to transition to the relentless and frantic pace of daily digital publishing coming from a monthly mag.

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“In that world, timeliness is everything and the pressure to put something out as soon as news breaks can lead to mistakes or work that isn’t as polished as you would like.

“Within the confines of the local scene, one particular challenge can also evolve into an advantage. The instinct is always to get that big interview with that big band. But what separates your Q&A with Foals against NPR’s, Stereogum’s or literally the thousands of other publications out there? You’re forced to get creative with your structure, and perhaps include audio and video aspects as well in order to make your angle more engaging.

“Likewise, local music publications all have writers that grew up in the local scene, and want to support the best they can. Without the ad and cost constraints of printing extra pages, writers can go the extra mile to up their volume of content and give talented underground Singaporean acts more exposure and more attention. In fact, coverage and intimate knowledge of compelling regional acts is precisely the thing that will set JUICE Singapore apart from Pitchfork.

“Anyways, as a former member of the JUICE family, I truly wish the new team well and hope that the total switch to digital goes smooth. From personal experience, the new online dynamic can be quite the learning curve, but JUICE Singapore has slowly been building up their digital and social media game in recent years, so I’d say they’re well equipped to handle the challenges ahead.”

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Current Editor of Honeycombers Singapore Kevin Ho was with JUICE Singapore from 2013 to 2015 as Music Writer.

“I was spearheading the music direction of JUICE for about two years, and used to scurry around the island picking up its print copies for many more prior,” said Kevin. “Naturally, I’ll always have a soft spot for the brand and its growth.”

“The publication’s full transition into the digital realm is both thrilling and bittersweet to hear, and I sincerely hope – with its new infrastructure and leadership – that it continues to be the trailblazing entity that future scene kids can look up to. It has a talented team that can make it happen, and I wish them all the best.”

Former JUICE Singapore editorial intern Zoee Toh is also confident about the future of JUICE Singapore.

“For a publication that’s been around as long as JUICE, the end of this era will come as a bummer to the scene. During my stint there, I could tell that they really prided themselves as the go-to for everything current. JUICE was more than a publication – it was kinda THE embodiment of Singapore’s street culture and an accessory. Not to mention it was a bit of a cult, to see the mags plastered all over the mantels of “currently relevant” stores and clubs.

No doubt, the physical copies will definitely be missed. But JUICE is more than just a coffeetable aesthetic, so whether it’s digital or print, their content will definitely be more than enough to reach both old and new readers.”

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