Plan B magazine to close after five years in print

Independent music magazine Plan B has announced it is to cease publication next month after five years in print.

The title, which claimed an unaudited circulation of about 11,000, said in a message to readers that it had been hit by the current economic climate and the conditions in the music industry.

The magazine’s fifth anniversary issue, which is due out on 1 June, will be its last. Plan B employed two full-time staff, four part-timers and a number of freelance contributors.

Writing on the Plan B messageboard, publisher Frances Morgan said: “We’ve come to the decision to close Plan B Magazine after the June issue after a lot of deliberation.

“The current economic climate, combined with the situation of the music industry – to which, whether we like it or not, the fortunes of a commercial monthly music mag are inextricably linked – has made it ever harder for us to continue producing the magazine the way we want to.

“To keep going, we’d need to make cuts in staff, content, size, frequency, print quality – and we’re not prepared to do that. We’re still above water, we’re making some beautiful magazines, and we are quitting while we’re ahead.”

Morgan said a searchable archive of every back issue in PDF format would be made available online.

Plan B was the brainchild of former Vox editor Everett True. It launched in 2004 as an alternative to the mainstream music press, with art photography and a focus on the edgier end of the independent music sector.

Another music magazine, drum and bass title Knowledge announced this week that it was going online-only after more than a decade.

Its last issue will be published on 12 June ahead of a web relaunch on 1 July.

In a statement, the editorial team said: “We’ve been busy building our new website for some months now and we were initially planning to run it alongside the magazine but the further down the road we’ve gone with the site, the more potential we have seen for the magazine online.

“There is so much more we can do and it makes the paper version seem so dated, so we have decided to move the magazine over to the web.”

In a report on the future of the music publishing industry earlier this year, Emap’s former head of digital operations Dharmash Mistry predicted that the recession would force a number of small music magazines to merge or close.

“There will be further consolidation in the sector due to lower circulations and significantly less endemic music advertising. So fewer, small music magazines with less staffing,” he wrote.

In the latest set of consumer magazine ABCs, covering the second half of 2008, NME fell below the 50,000 circulation mark for the first time, Kerrang lost 32.1 per cent of its circulation and Q was down 21.6 per cent.

There were also double-digit circulation declines for Rock Sound – down 13.1 per cent year on year – and Total Guitar, which fell 13.4 per cent.

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