Media: Lifeline - Music titles

The music sector turns full circle as glossy magazines struggle to attract readers.

1983: With David Hepworth now in his third year as the editor of Smash Hits, a music press revolution is under way. Inky tabloid newspapers such as Melody Maker and the NME are now left standing by glossy magazines. Meanwhile, the market is also segmenting - as demonstrated by the 1983 launch of Mixmag, aimed at clubbers.

1990: Having become Emap's editorial director, Hepworth (pictured) has launched Q and will add Mojo. United Consumer Magazines launches a monthly title called Select, that it subsequently sells to Emap. Meanwhile, IPC launches a Q-type monthly called Vox.

1998: The downturn starts putting music titles under severe pressure. More mainstream titles feel the pinch first - they also face competition from mainstream men's titles. Vox is the first to go, but Select also bites the dust after staggering along for another two years. Melody Maker also merges with the NME in 2000. Emap, however, adds to its diverse music stable by acquiring Mixmag.

2003: Hepworth leaves Emap to start his own publishing company, Development Hell. Its first title is Word, a film and music title aimed at 30- to 50-year-old men. Meanwhile, IPC has just closed its own clubbers' title, Muzik, and has read the last rites to this sector - but Emap goes ahead with a revamp of Mixmag designed to reignite its fortunes.

2005: Emap sells Mixmag to Development Hell, which says Mixmag will benefit from being treated like a magazine, not a brand. But its circulation has been falling (now 46,470) and commentators wonder how much mileage is left in the clubbing scene.

Fast forward ...

2008: Emap completes its transition from a publisher to an event-led "live content" digital media owner by selling Q to Development Hell. Ironically, however, it now wants to build a clubbing-scene brand across all digital platforms and enters negotiations with Development Hell to lease back the Mixmag masthead.

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