The music market – with a readership of young early adopters and geeks excited by anything Apple – has had a heads-up on the radical changes technology has wrought on the magazines industry.
Titles such as NME and Kerrang! have long been active online, in TV and in radio. When magazine sales are slipping, they can argue more than the others that the brand lives in a host of other places. As a result, NME finds itself one of the top five consumer titles online. It posted an ABCe of 1.7 million unique users, while the magazine saw a slip in sales to 68,151, down 8.2 per cent year on year.
NME editor Conor McNicholas admits that the drop in print circulation is a concern. ‘Every editor is concerned about sales figures primarily, that’s it, end of,’he says. ‘My job is to deliver ABC increases and not declines, but I’ve had a challenging year. I have to manage it as an overall brand. That doesn’t mean that we’re not concerned about magazine sales, but it does mean we can talk to ad clients and offer them footprint packages that offer a much bigger picture.”
Similarly, Emap’s Kerrang! argues its radio listenership is at 1.4 million and its website has 157,000 unique users each month. It remains ahead of NME in terms of sales – up 4.3 per cent year on year to 83,610. It will be interesting to watch how Kerrang!’s different platforms get sliced up if and when Emap sells its radio, magazines and TV divisions.
The biggest selling music title, Q, could also be affected by developments within Emap. It suffered the greatest year-on-year decline, down 17.7 per cent, which the publisher blamed on abandoning cover mounts.
Stablemate Mojo was down 8 per cent to 112,037, but remained ahead of IPC’s Uncut, down 3.2 per cent in this, its 10th year, partly credited to increased operation and efficiencies of the publishers.
Future saw improved performance with Classic Rock up 20 per cent and Metal Hammer up 8.3 per cent year on year.
Having a tougher time as a smaller operation is independent publisher Development Hell, where dance monthly Mixmag was down 11.1 per cent year on year to 37,139, while Word remained relatively stable – down 0.9 per cent year on year but up 3.6 per cent in the last six months to 34,816.