RIP Q Magazine – Is Print Music Journalism Dying?

Words: Cerys Hubbard

Like a lot of music lovers, I was absolutely devastated when I found out that the September
edition of Q Magazine, is to be the last ever issue. As someone who aspires to have a career in music
journalism, seeing the loss of another one of these music publications is about as heartbreaking
as Mufasa’s death in The Lion King, (i.e. very very tragic and feels like a piece of your soul has
been ripped out of you). Because with all of these publications shutting down, many of us
aspiring music journalists will never ever see one of our articles or our names in print.

Although the effects of the covid-19 pandemic have been said to be one of the major causes of
the closure of the magazine, I think we can all agree that the internet has played a huge part in
this. Starting with the shutdown of the print edition of NME in 2018. It was announced that they
would be continuing to publish the magazine weekly, but in an online format. The magazine had
been struggling for a few years, being sold for free in shops such as HMV and Topshop. In an
interview with The Guardian, around the time it bit the dust, Manic Street Preachers bassist
Nicky Wire stated that for him, “it died when it went free” and that “there was barely anything to
read in it” towards the end of the magazine’s life, no longer focusing on music, instead including
film and style features as well.

Q was one of the last music magazines to focus fully on music. It was founded in 1986, and was
named after the word “cue” (as in cueing a record) but was simplified to the letter Q, to prevent it
being mistaken for a snooker magazine. Every month, all 100 or so pages would be filled with
interviews and articles with well-established artists and bands as well as up and coming ones. It
was one of the places where people could find out what their favourite artists were up to, their
creative processes etc, however, due to the rise of social media and the internet, it is a lot
easier to find all of this out for free instead of spending a fiver on a magazine every month. It
has not yet been said whether Q will follow in NME’s footsteps and continue as an online
magazine, however, the future for print music journalism looks bleak. The circulation for Q in
2001, when the magazine was at its peak, was 200,000 per month, but in recent years this had
dropped to around 28,000 per month.

After the fall of Q Magazine, I think that it’s fair to say that physical music magazines are
definitely in a decline and will soon die out completely, purely because of how easy it is to get
hold of interviews and information online. This doesn’t mean that music journalism as a whole
will die out.

In fact, I think more people are now starting to gain an interest in it. People are practising it
everyday on social media, voicing their opinions about bands on Twitter and Instagram, sharing
videos and photos from gigs and festivals. Not to mention that many music magazines also run
their own Youtube channels where they share video interviews regularly. It’s never going to be a
thing of the past, and in the words of Alex Turner at The Brit Awards in 2014- “It seems like it’s
faded away sometimes, but it will never die- and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

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