MEDIA: MUZIK - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Yusuf Joseph Chuku applauds Muzik's makeover but doubts it can reverse a slump in sales

Muzik's UK & Ireland circulation is the lowest it has ever been, dropping 13 per cent in its last ABC. As is now typical of fading beauties, Muzik has checked itself in for a makeover. So what did the beautician recommend?

Go easy on the clubbing and late nights: with strong competition from local listings titles, the club listings have been replaced by a slimmed- down recommendations section. And, what self-respecting dance music fan doesn't have a pair of Technics decks at home ready to inflict mismatched beats on friends, family and neighbours? In light of this, an expanded "Bedroom Bedlam

has replaced the DJ manual. With more product reviews and even an invitation to send in your mixes for Muzik to scrutinise.

Go for the coffee table look: design has certainly got tighter; it looks like real effort has gone into art direction and picture editing. The front cover is certainly all shiny and airbrushed but still not as sexy when stacked up against the other style magazines. To Muzik's credit it's certainly easier on the eye when flicking through. The larger and bolder headers definitely help keep track of where you are.

Let your personality come through: Muzik has always focused on the music rather than filling its pages with pictures of wide-eyed sweaty young men carrying glow sticks and young ladies sporting their best porno chic. This focus is enhanced with an increase in the number and length of features, definitely a move in the right direction. The review section has also grown and remains classified by genre but there is still room for more sections.

Commercially this makeover will give Muzik's sales team a new pitch when in search of the "Holy Grail

of lifestyle advertising. However, are these changes enough to arrest its circulation decline?

It appears that the problem lies beyond the control of Muzik's editorial team. Together with the other dance magazines, Muzik has witnessed the musical landscape shift beneath its feet. A new generation of guitar-based music fans is among us; you can see them clutching untouched skateboards outside your local McDonald's.

Why else would Kerrang! witness the largest circulation increase in the music sector? Even Metal Hammer put in a good performance.

A positive outcome to Muzik's nips and tucks would be that it holds onto its remaining readers, but you feel that it will just have to wait for that music pendulum to swing back in its favour. In the world of magazine publishing there is truth in the saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

- When not mixing on his Technics decks, Yusuf Joseph Chuku is an associate director at Manning Gottlieb OMD.


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