The slow art of magazine struggles to keep up with our frenetic need for quick news
Nathan White, Account Manager
After 34 years of comprehensive coverage of all things music, Q magazine are publishing their final print edition on the 28th of July.
The move comes amidst the financial challenges and realities of lockdown life due to Covid-19. Given the already challenging conditions within the magazine and print sector more broadly, the latest crisis to engulf us was cited as the killer blow for this iconic print brand.
Q follows NME who ceased its print run after 66 years in 2018. These are victims of not only our need for quick, soundbite news, but also as a result of the mediums’ own failure to arrest dramatic declines in circulation over a sustained period (ABC data shows Q circulation has fallen to 28,359).
I have some bad news about @QMagazine. The issue that comes out on July 28 will be our last. The pandemic did for us and there was nothing more to it than that. I have attached our final cover and my editor’s letter for context.
On the plus side, we’re all available for work. pic.twitter.com/rm8qOcUBtB
— Ted Kessler (@TedKessler1) July 20, 2020
More broadly music journalism has evolved dramatically in the past 20 years, as artists have never been closer to their fans and followers via online platforms. Traditional magazine content is moving away from long-form exclusives and interviews and now exists completely free as weekly podcasts, snappy five-minute video interviews and knee-jerk album reviews within a couple of hours of them being released.
Even a quick google of your favourite artist will throw up hundreds of sources of free content which would have only been accessible once upon a time in specialist music magazines such as Q.
The ability to react quickly to breaking stories and new content is what print and even more so magazines lack. Nevertheless what they do not lack is authoritative, thoughtful, knowledgeable and skilled journalism that will be greatly missed.
There is no escaping that hard times lie ahead for magazines and titles will continue to close over the next 12 months – as ad budgets become squeezed, magazines will become less attractive to marketers and agencies increasingly tasked with performance and results.
However as long as they exist on our shelves magazines offer advertisers a high quality ad placement and the ability to target contextually in an engaging and affordable way, especially against hard to reach and niche audiences.
Finally it is worth noting that the quality and authority of the content produced by magazines in itself represents tremendous value to advertisers. Some of the sharpest and best minds in their respective industries continue to give their expertise every week or month and if we have learned one thing from 2020, we should allow ourselves more time to listen to experts.