Music magazine's future is uncertain

The future of X-Ray is looking uncertain after co-publisher Swinstead Publishing, the company behind Sleazenation and Jockey Slut, announced that it was pulling out of its partnership with radio station Xfm.

SP was contracted to produce X-Ray for the Capital Radio station three years ago as a free quarterly listings title. It went on to launch the A5-magazine as a paid-for title in 2002.

Despite initial sales of more than 54,000, its latest ABC had dropped to about 22,000. The next issue, out at the end of January, will be the last produced by SP, which said that the magazine needs a cash injection.

“It’s not the sales that are the problem.

It needs investment and marketing to stay competing with the likes of NME and Q,” an SP spokesman said.

“From what I understand their [Xfm’s] primary focus is the radio station, which means there’s a limit to the amount of money they are prepared to invest in brand extension activity and we’re not prepared to invest in it because it’s not our title.”

Xfm managing director Graham Bryce said: “SP has been a great partner for us in developing and launching the magazine, but we are now in discussions with a number of other parties about investing in the magazine, to develop it to its full potential.”

Future is understood to have approached Xfm prior to the closure of Bang last year. Sources say Future wanted to merge the titles to gain a better market position but Xfm was “bullish”, preferring X-Ray to standalone.

By Sarah Boden

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