• Audience identificationwith theiconic, recognisablemasthead first appealsto consumers – taking up15% of the front coveran enigmatic, uppercase, bold, white onred, block serif letter„Q‟ is a box on the lefthand side top of thecover.
• This departs from the conventions ofmagazine covers that normally run amasthead run along the top of thefront cover. „Q‟ is enigmatic, just likethe regular Spine Line which changesevery months because many readerswill be uncertain why it is called bythis name and according to theEditor it looks original and displaysbetter on newsstands (the magazinewas planned to be called „Cue‟ as incue the music but it was thoughtthere was an outside chance it couldbe mistaken for a snookermagazine, a sport which was verypopular when Q launched in 1986.The white letter could signifysimplicity or purity while a redbackground has connotations ofdanger – the founders of themagazine thought at the time thatthe music press was ignoringolder, primarily male music buyers.AudienceEnigmatic: Something that makes readersengage with a text by asking questions.•Spine Line: Text written along the spineof a magazine.
• Within the masthead, themagazine‟s tagline is foregrounded– „A DIFFERENT TAKE ONMUSIC‟. This again encodes asense of originality and almost„independence‟ to audiences.• Q magazine devotes a significantamount of content toestablished, mainstream Rockartists and belongs to the Rockgenre frequently running articleson its favourite British bandsincluding the Rolling Stones, StoneRoses and Blur.• A DIFFERENT TAKE ON MUSIC‟however is another successful wayto market to audiences whoperhaps do not have thesignificant cultural capital of theprimary readerTagline: The saying or textual association of amagazine.Cultural Capital: The pre existingknowledge, skills and experience anaudience have that affect their readingor deconstruction of a media text.
• Q magazine has high production values and this is evidencedby its glossy, monthly format and also by fact that it ispublished by the Bauer Media Group, one of the oligopoly ofmagazine publishers who acquired EMAP in 2008. Bauer own282 magazines in 15 countries and also TV and Radiostations and are the UK‟s largest publishing group.• It is with this financial backing that Q can sustainrelatively low monthly circulation of 80,400, as with mostother consumer magazines a common occurrence with manydiversifying into new media as with Q‟s websitewww.qthemusic.com.• Bauer‟s other music magazine titles include Mojo andKerrang who, like Q have diversified into cross mediaplatforms like Q TV and Q Radio.• The Q Awards are also sponsored by the brand (thoughBauer) and remain one of the UK‟s most prestigious musicawards. It with this in mind that Q sees itself as moresophisticated than other titles offering quality and stillattracting high profile advertisers despite the lowcirculation. Q‟s demographic have a high potential foradvertising spend suggesting ABC1, aspirers, maleskew, urban and city living 25-45 who are „into their music‟
• Q have hybridised up to a point with the Rock genre verymuch apparent but with a focus occasionally on qualityindie artists like Pete Doherty and Elbow. Q want to beassociated with successful music artists and a way ofmaintaining their place in the market is by flexibility interms of genre (see also Kerrang magazine).• Guitar bands are Q‟s main focus and as a result have aclose relationship with the Glastonbury Festival producinga free daily newspaper during the festival although as withthe above front cover are comfortable with running coversdevoted to popular female artists who are invariableframed for the male gaze with this audience in mind.• In April 2010 Q caused controversy when they ran a frontcover featuring Lady Gaga, centrally framed in mediumshot covering her breasts, only to be banned by some USretail outlets. Unashamedly „boysey‟ Q‟s sister papersinclude Empire, a wholly mainstream, male dominated filmmagazine and football magazine FourFourTwo.Hybridised: Where the conventions of two ormore genres are combinedFramed for theMale Gaze: Wherea subject is setwithin the frame(e.g. a magazinecover) and issexualised for maleaudiences (fromLaura Mulvey’smale gaze theory).
• Q are also well known for compiling „lists‟ – on the above frontcover a typical example of this would be cover line „The 25Greatest Rock Movies‟ and have an extensive „Review‟ section (newreleases, reissues, live concert reviews and film).• Q TV closed in July 2012 but again focussed on Rock videos andRock films with the occasional indie and „alternative‟ reference.The saturation of music TV channels and low viewing figures madeit untenable that it continue broadcasting.• Q Radio however continues and is available on the internet, ondigital radio or on digital television networks with the addedadvantage of limited production costs while the cost ofmaintaining Q TV was considerable and without enoughadvertising revenue to cover costs.• As with the print music magazine, the brand Q• remains recognisable, but for how long?
• Cover lines on the right handside of the this edition anchorthe masculine representationswith not only bands like U2, TheStone Roses and Oasis havinghyper real, stereotypicalconnotations but the letteringalso appears in bold, uppercase, sans serif block with itsown signification of masculinity.• All bands are British andentirely male with all Oasis andThe Stone Roses conforming toa hell raising, bad boy imagewhich would be read asaspirational by much of thetarget audience who are fans ofthe groupsHyper Real: An exaggerated representation.
• U2 are foregrounded as adominant, successful global band with theirlead singer Bono often revered and enigmatic.• The sub headings „Good lord, it‟s theirmasterpiece‟ and „The 55 pint interview‟ againserve to anchor these hyper real masculineassociations that the readers expect. Themode of address is used to facilitate thiswith the magazine talking directly to thereader in an informal way with common use ofexclamation marks creating the myth of apersonal communication.• This is s similar technique uses by Men‟sLifestyle magazines to create a form ofinclusivity like the readers are all part of thesame homogenous group. Collective identityForegrounded:Where animage orperson is putat the front ofaudiences’minds.
The centralimage, Lilly Allen isa carefullyconstructed photoshoot ensuring thesinger appearframes centrally inlong shot, toplesslooking back at themale audience. Herbodylanguage, including ahand on hip, herseductive gaze, anddress code includingblack tights, heelsand hot pants arestraight out of aMen‟s Lifestylemagazine and arecommon conventions• Thissimplistic, almost minimalisticfront coversuggests thesophisticationthat Q magazineare looking toachieve – manylower productionvalue magazineshave clutteredfrom coversthat havelimited designconsiderations.
• Across her body the main cover line, „SEXYBEAST LILY ALLEN‟ has its own connotationsand could be understood as a pun with thepresence of two black Panthers flanked toeither side.• Wild cats stereotypically are associated with asexual connotation(sleek, dangerous, uncontrollable, deadly butbeautiful) and are used in this way on the frontcover.• Again written in sans serif font her name isforegrounded large as a banner and the colourpalette is also stereotypically masculine usingsilvers, blacks, whites and reds which also serveto create more of an aesthetically pleasingcover. Written underneath Lily Allen‟s name insmaller, italicised this time red for passion anddanger upper case text is use of alliteration„WICKED, WICKED WAYS‟ which allowsaudiences to decode the impact of the sexualrepresentation through use of language.
• The cover lines that run along the bottom of the front coversignify their importance in terms of genre in that are mainlyindie compared to the main cover lines about Rock bands atthe top right of the page. Pete Doherty‟s on and off drugdependency is referred to by the cover line „PETE DOHERTYAND THE HARDEST WORKING CORPSES IN MUSIC‟ but ahyper real masculine representation is still apparent as likethe other Rock artists he has a bad boy image.• The only female frame of reference on the front cover is anovertly sexualised Lily Allen whose presence is for maleaudiences and potentially for a secondary female targetaudience who could see her as an aspirational role model.• Her agreement to appear on the front cover of Q is aninteresting one from a marketing perspective as lyrically manyof her songs reflect a fierce independence but arguably thecover image references the significant other (men) that hersongs do not – this would be a mutually beneficial marketingagreement both for Q and Lily Allen as with the Lady Gagafront cover, both would benefit from notoriety and publicitywhile Q remain associated with quality artists
• Q‟s online music magazine, www.qthemusic.com makes continualreference to the established brand that is Q Magazine – much ofthe homepage is devoted to the print version with subscriptionoffers found in the leaderboard and with an option of a heroshot which is a larger image of the subscription advert.• It would be safe to say that this particular online magazinerelies on the iconic print version which it regularly pays homageto.• On the homepage, qthemusic has the significant advantage ofimmediate navigation and audio visual links and it is constructedin such a way as to be subservient to the dominant print productdespite its millions of page impressions and hits compared to thelow circulation of Q magazine.
• The leaderboard boasts the samehouse style as the print magazinemasthead by having the letter Qpositioned top left using thesame typography and colourpalette but without thetagline, „A DIFFERENT TAKE ONMUSIC‟ –• this allows online consumers tofocus more on the interactiveelements which are not soapparent in the printed version.Next to the magazine title theinteractivity starts with therhetorical question „Who will bethe greatest?
• Wri• Written underneath it states ‟25 YEARS OFDISCOVERING GREAT MUSIC‟ suggestingoptimistic ambition to be responsible for thesuccess of more artists than is probably the case.„Who will be the greatest‟, as with the colourpalette of red and the font used in the mastheadconforms to a house style in Q magazine that aspreviously identified is keen on list generation e.g.100 best songs, videos or albums.• This list generation also creates a hierarchy andallows the magazine, both in print and onlineformats to take an opinionated, subjected butinformed analysis on the Rock, indie and„alternative‟ music scene.
• The use of rhetorical question and indeed list generation conformsto masculine stereotypes of challenge and recording of informationfor purposes of historical documenting. This is one of the biggestchallenges to qthemusic, to reference history and tradition butwithin a digital, interactive media format. With this in mind theonline music magazine still has a male skew withABC1, aspirers, urban and city living but has a younger demographic.Again stereotypically, older men tend to collect magazines and buyvinyl and CDs while younger audiences use new media and downloadmusic. The website caters for both and it is worth recognisingagain that this is a stereotypical assumption – retro culture is verypopular among young target audiences and Rock and older indiebands like the Stone Roses, frequently foregrounded by Q movecarefully into this equation. To support this, still in the leaderboardwithin the smaller Q subscription advert the rock and indie bandsBlur, The Darkness and The Stone Roses are advertised as being inthe latest edition, all established and historical bands with theirbetter years behind them. Also included are Kasabian, an indie Rockband, Drake, a Hip Hop artist (perhaps acknowledging the youngeronline audience) and British comedian Ross Noble, himself a surrealbut stereotypically masculine character who would conform to thetraditional gender skew offered by the brand, Q.
• The layout of the website isminimalistic, similar to theprinted magazine itself buttraditional to manyhomepages i.e. boxy and withlittle variation of font –significant amounts of whitespace are above the fold andbelow the fold (more belowthe fold as most of theinformation viewed onhomepages is on the top halfof the homepage) makingnavigation straightforwardand simplisticAbove the Fold: The top half of a homepage.Below the Fold: The bottom half of ahomepage.
• Convergent links on theleaderboard allow users tonavigate to landing pagescontaining a variety of rich mediaand additional audio-visual contentincluding News, Video, QRadio, Features, Track of theDay, Gallery , Q Covers (againreinforcing the dominance of theprinted magazine), Ticket Shop, TShits Shop (an an example of B2Bmerchandising), Promotions andNewsletter.• All the above links reflect theinteractive nature of qthemusicwith more added value but withouta glossy magazine in their hands
• Promotions and Newsletter. All theabove links reflect the interactivenature of qthemusic with more addedvalue but without a glossy magazine intheir hands.• The homepage has much lowerproduction values but is able tosynergise with Q Radio, link to anarchive thus reinforcing thebrand, offer instant tickets, photogalleries and merchandising all appealingto a younger demographic.
As an online Rock magazine qthemusic isless interactive thanwww.welovepopmag.co.uk andwww.toppmag.com as although targetinga younger audience than Q magazine theusers are likely to be more „serious‟about music and less likely to need tobe entertained by non relevantinteractive links.
• The hero shot is traditionally placedunderneath the leaderboard and issimply a larger advert for Q magazineinviting users to subscribe with insetimages of back copies – this brandingreinforces the arguably opinionatedapproach the brand has by promotingitself and not an artist on the mainimage on the homepage. Next to thehero shot is further evidence of Q‟ssubjective, opinionated approach toreviewing with „Track of the Day‟ and„What‟s your favourite Blur album?Hero Shot: The main image on ahomepage, above the fold.
• This interactivity encourages users to identify with a band thatis frequently featured within the covers of Q, thus reinforcingthe magazine‟s own mediated representation of the musicindustry. This mediation however is tempered with a clearunderstanding of the target audience and an awareness of theirneeds and wants.• Again, good use of white space enables users to navigate abovethe fold to the next two sections which again ensureinteractivity with past news and editions but also a substantivesection, „News‟ which runs along the left hand side of the homepage and extends right down from above the fold to below thefold – news items offer 3 or 4 lines of emboldened text toattract the target audience followed by 3 or 4 more lines oftext with the opportunit• y of clicking through to• the extended story
• This assumes a certain level ofknowledge in relation to the targetaudience and allows them to utilisetheir cultural capital in relation tochoice of story.• Stories and news as of 6th August2012 included Morrissey balking atthe “blustering jingoism” of theOlympics encoding up to a point apreferred reading that Q are a bittrendy and anti establishment whichwould be aspirational with some oftheir „political‟, more left wingreaders.• Three other stories make referenceto Blur, one to icon Bruce Springsteenand another offering tickets to seeanother „grandfather‟ of rock, LouReed. As identifiedearlier, association with establishedstars remains important to qthemuisic.
• Further convergent links to Q Radio again develop a cross mediaapproach to continuing the brand image of Q while the right handside of qthemusic has a larger amount of white space below thefold reflecting the lack of navigation of this part of homepagesby users.• In terms of design and layout what it also serves to generate isvisual interest in the news column as it is juxtaposed to nothing.Qthemusic normally runs skyscraper adverts along both sides ofthe homepage and relate directly to the target audience in termsof their gender e.g. adverts for Whiskey which stereotypically isa spirit drunk by older male consumers.Juxtaposition: Wheresomething isdeliberately placednext to something tocreate a thirdmeaning.Skyscrapers:Adverts that rundown the side of aweb page (andthat look likeskyscrapers).
Your task• In the exam you can use these details if theyare relevant, however, you need to use your owncase studies to prove that you are an„independent learner‟ and that you haven‟t justbeen „spoon fed‟.• You can use the case study you created earlierin the year, and add detail to it, so it readsmore like this one.• Have your glossary by your side so you can raisethe level of your response to an A+ use ofterminology.