ABC FIGURES: Q leads music titles as specialist mags suffer

The market leader, Q, began to re-establish itself as the top dog of the music magazines sector, while specialist rock and dance titles performed poorly in the new ABC figures.

Q led the charge of mature music mags, boasting a 12 per cent rise in circulation period on period, which reduced the severity of its year-on-year decline of 10.2 per cent. This follows the recent installation of the former Kerrang! editors Paul Rees and Phil Alexander as editor and editor-in-chief respectively.

Uncut also performed well, boosting its readership by 9 per cent period on period and almost 25 per cent year on year, while Mojo once again topped 100,000 readers.

Kerrang!'s meteoric rise in popularity levelled out, but its fellow rock titles Metal Hammer and Rock Sound suffered substantial losses. This slump was matched only by Mixmag, which lost 40,000 readers this period, although half of that can be accounted for by the exclusion of bulk sales from Emap's auditing figures.

The NME continued to claw back market share, posting a small rise in circulation for the second period in succession, and Future's Classic Rock increased its readership by 26.7 per cent year on year.

Stuart Williams, the Emap publishing director of Q, Mojo and Kerrang!, said: "Q has a lot going for it at the moment. The effect of Paul and Phil joining has been almost immediate and I expect our ABCs to improve even more next quarter.

"The titles at the more mature end of the music market are doing well but what I'm pleased with is the fact we're recruiting people in their early twenties. That's the way we've been marketing."

Williams added: "As for dance, any market which is genre-specific is cyclical. When it's doing badly, it's important to still be the market leader."

Verdict Genre-specific titles suffered from a fickle audience. Mature titles such as Uncut and Q were rewarded for being more than just music magazines. This should continue as the manufactured pop backlash pushes more readers towards "serious" music.


Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year %

Q Emap 180,215 12.0 -10.2

Mojo Emap 100,418 0.3 3.7

Uncut IPC 91,204 9.2 24.6

Kerrang! Emap 84,173 0.2 9.5

NME Emap 73,338 1.8 4.1

Mixmag IPC 60,070 -18.9 -34.7

Classic Rock Future 40,271 4.5 26.7

Total Guitar Future 38,452 - 15.5

Muzik IPC 36,089 0.2 -11.0

Metal Hammer Future 35,536 -19.4 -11.3

Rock Sound IXO 26,805 -16.4 -14.1

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2002).