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The Adult Orientated Mainstream

Bijon Fenner | Thursday July 16, 2009

Categories: Magazines, Music Press, More on Music Press, Music, Other Topics

Paul McCartney was on the first issue of Q and came back to celebrate its 50th issue: he’s typical of the magazine’s emphasis on older ‘classic’ artists.

KEY BRAND VALUES: MAINSTREAM ADULT ORIENTATED ROCK
OWNER: EMAP (1986 TO 2007) BAUER (2007 to present)
MASTHEAD: Q
PUFF: THE GUIDE TO MODERN MUSIC AND MORE / THE ULTIMATE MUSIC GUIDE
PRICE: £3.90
HOUSE STYLE: RED AND WHITE, BLACK TEXT, CANDID COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
ADVERTISING PORTFOLIO: ALBUM ARTISTS, HI-FI EQUIPMENT, PREMIUM BRAND ALCOHOLIC DRINKS, EXPENSIVE CARS.

Q was launched in 1986 by EMAP. Its founding editors were Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, both of whom had worked on Smash Hits.

In many ways it was an extension of this in that it was colourful and A4. However, it also drew upon the sophisticated journalism of an earlier era: old school NME journalists like Charles Shaar Murray also wrote for the magazine. This reflected the older demographic of readers, who were still music fans in their thirties and forties.

Initially its success was based upon the proliferation of the CD, which generated high levels of advertising revenue. However, the magazine fast became the biggest selling music title in the UK. Though in some respects the magazine pioneered men’s lifestyle journalism, the success of FHM and Loaded threatened the magazine in the mid-1990s (interestingly Dave Hepworth was editor of FHM!). Likewise the decline of album sales in the digital age and what has been described as the ‘death of the bankable cover star’ saw the magazine resorting to lists of 100 greatest singers/ guitarists/ songwriter, etc. for lead feature articles.

Analysing Pop History: Q Magazine and the Mature Mainstream

The notion that what can be identified academically as a sub-culture is not always definitive of opposition or resistance and has been remarked upon by a number of theorists including Gary Clarke and David Laing. Laing in particular has suggested that what Hebdige...


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