ABC FIGURES: Kerrang! slips down as rock titles see a drop in readership

Kerrang!'s dramatic fall in readership seems to signal that the rock music bubble has finally burst.

IPC's New Musical Express leapfrogged the Emap rock title following Kerrang!'s 16 per cent fall in circulation.

Neil Robinson, the publishing director of IPC's music titles, said that he was optimistic that NME's ABC would continue to grow following a redesign this autumn.

"We're off the button and on the pulse. NME has moved from print to newsstands and with a new team in place and a redesign I'm confident for the future," he said.

Elsewhere, there was other good news for IPC with Uncut seeing its year-on-year circulation growing by more than 25 per cent to overtake Emap's Mojo. Robinson claimed Uncut had grown due to awareness through targeted sampling, rather than any dramatic editorial changes.

Mark Gallagher, the press controller at Manning Gottlieb OMD, said Uncut's editorial formula appeared to be working: "Covermounted CDs and the combination of film and music content are proving to be a compelling formula."

While the market leader Q suffered a period-on-period decline, Emap can take comfort from the fact that the new entrants into the market - including Bang and X-Ray, which have both yet to report an ABC - appear to be growing the market rather than cannibalising the existing one.

The dance music magazine mixmag's performance indicates that the dance sector is moribund. It has failed to benefit from the closure of IPC's Muzik and the demise of the Ministry of Sound magazine.

Verdict The sector overall is in danger of stagnation. While music titles live and die by trends, action is needed to re-establish momentum.


TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year

Q Emap 172,557 -4.20 7.20

Uncut IPC 105,781 16.00 26.70

Mojo Emap 103,654 3.20 3.50

NME IPC 72,443 -1.20 0.50

Kerrang! Emap 70,361 -16.40 -16.20

Mixmag Emap 53,212 -11.40 -28.20

Classic Rock Future 43,545 8.10 12.90

Metal Hammer Future 35,876 1.00 -18.60

Rock Sound IXO 23,043 -14.0 -28.20

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2003).