The latest ABC figures confirm that the established rock music titles have once again failed to strike a chord with readers.
It was the weekly titles, such as Melody Maker and the NME, that really suffered in the latest results. Despite being relaunched as an A4 colour magazine backed by a £500,000 marketing spend last year, Melody Maker registered a 5.7% decline period-on-period, and NME declining by 20% in the same period.
It was left to relative newcomers to show how it is done. The Ministry of Sound's magazine, Ministry, capitalising on its strong brand, rose by an extremely healthy 36% and IPC's Uncut saw a 25% increase year-on-year. Uncut, which is only 34 issues old, is obviously still discovering readers and further increases are no doubt expected but its success in combining film, books and music aimed at the Mojo and Q reader shows that there continues to be mileage in targeting the older reader. There was evidence of this in Mojo's figures, which saw a respectable 6.8% rise year-on-year.
Niche titles such as Mixmag, which is published in partnership with Kiss 100, saw a ten per cent rise year-on-year.
Publishers recognise that there is room for improvement. Andy McDuff, managing director of IPC Music & Sport, admitted that "the music weeklies have yet again faced more turbulent times," adding that the situation at NME, which is about to undergo a review, is "far from satisfactory". And Select, which had a disappointing set of figures - down by over 20% year-on-year - is set to be relaunched in March.
Verdict The outlook is positive for the younger weekly market, with the impending launch of NME Radio and the current Nu-Metal boom, which is helping buoy up Kerrang's sales. And the weightier titles are also taking action to boost sales: Mojo is planning to launch in the US and Q is set to exploit its brand with an extension into TV and radio.