By Alyson Fixter
The publishing company behind The Word magazine has unveiled a glossy, made-over Mixmag, aiming to drag the title out of its "teenage nutcase clubber" ghetto to appeal to fans of music ranging from hip-hop to Madonna.
Editor Andrew Harrison, who had a previous stint editing the 24-year-old title during its time at Emap, said the relaunched Mixmag would be more resistant to dance music’s shifting fortunes by grabbing a devoted audience like sister title The Word.
The magazine has been revamped specifically to appeal to more women and a wider age range than the previous incarnation, which Harrison said had been too focused on the teenage hard dance fan.
It was last relaunched by Emap in 2004, when the publisher did away with the post of editor, and staff were reportedly told to make the title the "Daily Star of clubbing".
Harrison said: "They focused the magazine very tightly on a young clubber, a very committed hardcore nutter clubber and we thought that wasn’t necessarily the right way to go.
"Mixmag is now a magazine for the entire world of dance music, whether you like hard boshing music that’s quite druggy, or chill out music, or you’re someone like me who likes to keep in touch with the music but has grown out of clubbing.
"This idea that dance music is a kind of minority interest, a bit like ska, is wrong. The biggest album of last year was by the Scissor Sisters."
Development Hell, run by former Emap executives Harrison, David Hepworth, Mark Ellen and Jerry Perkins, bought struggling Mixmag from Emap in November when the mag was selling an average of 42,234 copies a month, less than half its high point of nearly 110,000 in 2000.
The first issue of the relaunched magazine, out on 21 April, has been returned to a glossy, perfect bound format and features a more "feminine" design with brand new fonts and colour palette.
While the flatplan remains the same, sections have been expanded to include a wider range of music. Features have been stretched to up to 4,000 words and a fashion section has been reintroduced after a five-year break.
Harrison added: "The big publishers are more interested in large, high-frequency, undifferentiated products than contact with the reader.
"The reason we started Development Hell was because we thought something was getting lost. A great mag is about a personal connection with a group of readers who are a band apart, who have an unslakeable thirst to know about the scene they live for."
He said the company had no sales target in mind, but was looking to "restore Mixmag’s reputation".