Music Print Magazines See Massive Drop in Sales

Current climate is unkind to music print world.

Ultimate Guitar

Music magazines in their printed form have seen a massive drop in sales in the first half of 2014, according the the latest figures (via Gigwise).

Sales in music magazines are down across the board according to the latest ABC figures reported by the Guardian, with NME seeing the biggest drop of 28. 5% from last year, now selling an average of 14, 312 copies per week. However with digital sales included, its circulation rose to 15, 830.

In NME's heyday, they sold more than 300, 000 copies.

Other titles to suffer include Q magazine whose sales fell 21,8% to 46,096, but with digital rose to 48,353. Elsewhere, Mojo saw a dip of 10. 9%, Uncut 12. 1% and Kerrang! sales have dropped 12. 2% to 33, 024.

Speaking to the Guardian on behalf of NME, IPC publishing director Jo Smalley said that their total reach across all platforms was now 3,6 million - "bigger than it has ever been," with traffic on their website growing by 85%.

"We are also continuing to explore how NME can further expand its international footprint," she said. "This builds upon the launch of in India and Club NME in Brazil. These are just a few of many examples revealing how the NME business model is changing to pursue new opportunities and grow new revenues."

46 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Maybe it's because the NME talks a load of bollocks each week, writing about each new flavour of the week that you've never heard of and never will again after that issue.
    Or they keep interviewing and talking about the same bands over and over again, without much mention of new bands on the scene. Kerrang tends to do that.
    Kerrang and co were big in their hayday because there wasn't the internet in 99% of homes. They could literally choose who would be big, who wouldn't be big because the only way people could find out about bands not in their area was through publications like that. Now that they haven't got the power to choose who is successful, they are reliant on picking the same teen bands over and over. In regards to PR for bands, magazines like Kerrang have gone from being a useful promotional tool in getting new fans, to now just a branding tool to make themselves seem bigger.
    Kerrang is just one big circlejerk, some of the bands they talk about either don't have any new material or they broke up years ago (like MCR). I guess both NME and Kerrang know what their target audiences and what sells, so they're just sticking to that, for fear of circulation plummeting even more.
    Van Guff
    Kerrang have a 'josh-o-meter-'. Josh from you me at six has his own 'article' in the form of a meter. It's absolute crap. James McMhahon, the editor, is a good guy but since he's taken over the magazine has plummeted.
    Classic Rock does it as well unfortunately. I stopped buying print magazines a while ago. Unless it has a really interesting article. It's just not worth the price for one or two articles on a regular basis It's true that most music magazines tend to talk about flavour of the month artists and established names. Heck I found it hilarious when NME mentioned how Duffy was a flash in the pan recently yet I remember them fawning over her a few years ago. Sometimes a music magazine will perk my interest in a band (Lostalone comes to mind) but generally I find new bands online
    Kerrang normally grabs one band and runs with them for 10 issues at a time, I remember them doing it with the Gaslight Anthem and Gallows
    And Rolling Stone, and every music magazine out there. The only music magazine I care about really is Mojo.
    Have you noticed when you get a digital copy of a magazine you can flick through it in about 5 mins? They are full of so many ads and stuff all else!
    You mean the New Musical Express is talking about new music? They should rename themselves to reflect that, NEW MUSICal express isn't obvious enough!
    Print magazines in general have seen massive drop in sales because of this new thing called the internet.
    That, plus they suck. They do nothing to promote new bands. They just talk about the same bands over and over and over. Plus they are behind the times. Why should I buy a music magazine when I can peruse the internet and find bands I like. I have found SO MANY FREAKING new bands by Pandora, Youtube, or just looking around online for bands.
    Partially true. I tend to think the over saturation of ads in print magazines and the ridiculous price has as much to do with it.
    I think guitar magazines deserve a drop in sales, because half of their content are advertisements, while the tabs mostly rotate, so you get Stairway to Heaven and Nothing Else Matters every other month.
    Sammy Mantis
    Don't forget the obligatory Hendrix and/or Stevie Ray Vaughn cover stories at least once a year, despite there being nothing new to say about either one of them at all.
    I used to love guitar world and guitar one. But $8 for a magazine with +50% advertisement? I wasn't born yesterday.
    Same goes for total guitar over here, I found back issues of it in a charity shop, and they've got at least 3-5 full tabs, whereas now, they don't actually have any. If there's a song I really want to learn I buy it on rocksmith now
    This is good news for trees. Though it's hard to imagine print media ever completely dying out, with increased internet usage there was obviously going to be a shift in sales/readership towards web-based media.
    When there's magazines around like Kerrang I'm not surprised, every week I see yet another picture of that douche from Black Veil Brides on the cover or Ronnie Radke, if they are the kind of people they want to promote no wonder only little fan girls are interested in it. Not to mention the Kerrang music channel is absolute shite as well.
    two things: - print magazines talk about very, VERY poppy music, and they just don't appeal to me. - I will buy any Classic Rock special edition album, like Slash's albums, Rush's Clockwork Angels, etc. That's a unique way of presenting an album, where the reader is actually rewarded for not pirating.
    I like to buy Metal Hammer sometimes.
    I think Metal Hammer is one of the few magazines that tries to talk about different bands when possible, they've always been pretty diverse with their cover stories.
    People who downvoted me clearly haven't read the actual magazine and just their Facebook page most likely. Speaking from someone who has read it for numerous years, it's more diverse than most of it's contemporaries.
    not shocking in the slightest. why would i pay for something that is at least half advertisements?
    I published a magazine about 10 years ago (fitness/exercise based)... I can tell you this, and it's true of all the fitness and bodybuilding magazines... if sales were dependent on subscriptions and newsstand only, they would LOOSE money. They have to have advertisers on board... otherwise, they fail.
    I'm not arguing that any media (magazine, tv, radio, etc) needs ad revenue. I should have qualified my comment with why would I pay for something that is half ads when I can just about the same info online and in most cases ignore (adblock plus) or skip ads. The only time I'll buy a magazine is when I'm going on a long flight.
    I stopped buying BLITZ because they always have the same bands in the cover, they always interview the same bands, the historical articles are always about the same bands, and the newer bands they promote usually suck. I'm better off reading music-related stuff online and looking for good music to listen to by myself, for free.
    Look at any magazine rack at the store and most of the covers will have established (and often disbanded) classic rock bands on the cover. Maybe their readership are tired of reading the same "10 Facts You Didn't Know About Led Zeppelin". Since rolling stone changed to that smaller glossy format it's been a vehicle for pop music, and not the "counter culture" rock magazine it used to be. I unsubscribed to rolling stone because I got tired of reading about Katy Perry, Kanye, etc.
    internet killed the magazine star. hehe...magazines. wonders if metal maniacs is still kickin' around...
    Yeah I used to get a monthly subscription to Revolver. Then the articles got more watered down, they talked about the same bands over and over, and on top of that they then made it one magazine every 3 months, and yet it seemed shorter than the monthly mags I had been getting. That was the end of that.
    I don't like paying for advertisements. I was checking out an old guitar world issue the other day and started counting how many ads there were per page. Nearly every page is a damn advertisement, hell you don't even get into any sort of articles or interviews until 10 pages in at least. Then the last section is dedicated to ads or tablature which can be found online. There is no content.
    Well I always had a theory on this subject: bad CD's from artists that sucks will see a massive drop in sales. People will always buy CD's from stuff they like, period.
    Everybody would probably rather read about people who never leave their bedroom making songs out of samples on their macbook these days
    Anyone else think it's ironic that UG, as bad as the new articles are on here, is part of the reason why print magazines are declining? The internet is just far more convenient and free.
    Maybe if they were more readily available more people would still buy them. I used to buy guitar magazines all the time; but I noticed more and more stores seem to be taking those kinds of magazines out. The price jacking the last few years haven't been helping either.
    If they weren't $10-$15 I might think of buying them. They're fun to read/own, but I just go to the library and take out 10 of them at a time haha. I'd rather buy a CD or a ticket to a show than a magazine.
    I've been reading Classic Rock magazine since 2004 and no other mag has compelled me to keep a subscription this long mostly because it's what Rolling Stone was in the 60s and 70s and more. They leave out politics, cover old/new obscure bands, upcoming bands etc.
    This is why "print mags" should become websites. If Guitar World or Kerrang (and so on) want to stay relevant, they should run their articles on a dedicated website. Of course, they'd have to change their whole business model to do that...
    I wonder could the drop in sales of newspapers and magazines somehow be related?.....Hmmmmm