Magazine ABCs: Music weeklies suffer as sector falls 12%

IPC's weekly new music magazine, NME, has dropped below the 50,000 circulation mark - one of the biggest casualties in a music magazine market that shrunk by 12.2 per cent in the second half of 2008.

Figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations give NME an average weekly circulation of 48,459 in the last six months of the year, down 24.3 per cent on the same period in 2007, when it sold 64,033.

The title unveiled a new look in April last year, eight months after its last redesign, including an expanded gig guide and new band profiles.

Bauer Consumer Media's weekly rival to NME, Kerrang, was the biggest faller in the market, losing 32.1 per cent of its circulation year on year, down from 76,937 to 52,272.

Music monthly Mojo closed the gap with Bauer stablemate Q at the top of the circulation table. Mojo's headline circulation in this period was 100,507, a decline of 5.4 per cent.

It now stands just 2,510 copies behind Q, which fell 21.6 per cent in the same period with an average monthly circulation of 103,017 - down from 131,330 in the previous year.

There were also double-digit circulation declines for Rock Sound - down 13.1 per cent year on year to 20,011 - and Total Guitar, which fell 13.4 per cent in the same period to 42,171.

Uncut fell 4.3 per cent year on year to 87,069.

The rock magazine market's total combined circulation fell from 605,775 to 531,792 over the year - a decline of 12.2 per cent.

But there were a number of titles that bucked the trend and reported an increase in circulation in the second half of 2008.

They included Classic Rock magazine, up 4.1 per cent to 70,188, and Metal Hammer, which grew by 9.7 per cent with an average circulation of 50,269.

A handful of practical music titles - Guitarist, Guitar Techniques, The Guitar Magazine and Future Music all posted year-on-year gains.

In the dance magazine sector, Development Hell's clubbing title Mixmag fell 15.8 per cent to 30,159.

Its sister music title, The Word, increased its circulation in the second half of 2008 by 3.2 per cent year on year - up from 33,217 to 34,280.

Music magazines (percentage changes are year on year)

Q - 103,017 (-21.6%)
Mojo - 100,507 (-5.4%)
Uncut - 87,069 (-4.3%)
Classic Rock - 70,188 (4.1%)
Kerrang! - 52,272 (-32.1%)
Metal Hammer - 50,269 (9.7%)
New Musical Express - 48,459 (-24.3%)
Rock Sound - 20,011 (-13.1%)
BBC Music Magazine - 45,144 (-4.2%)
Classic FM - The Magazine - 35,751 (-13.7%)
Gramophone - 34,628 (-5.9%)
RWD - 77,050 (131.6%)
mixmag - 30,159 (-15.8%)
Terrorizer - 13,786 (-7.8%)
Word Magazine - 34,280 (3.2%)
Rhythm - 9,472 (-4.5%)
Total Guitar - 42,171 (-13.4%)
Guitarist - 31,917 (8.5%)
Guitar Techniques - 22,387 (7.0%)
The Guitar Magazine - 11,994 (3.0%)
Future Music - 10,860 (11.0%)

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