Music Magazine Industry
A music magazine is a magazine dedicated to
music and music culture. Such magazines typically
include music news, interviews, photo shoots, essays,
record reviews, concert reviews and occasionally have
a cover mount with recorded music.
Bauer and IPC
• The two conglomerate companies that
dominate the UK magazine market are
German multinational cross media
company Bauer and IPC Media (which is
part of the American Time Warner Group).
Institutional Context and Music
There is not one media institution that makes all
music magazines. As with all media texts like
films and tv programmes, they are made by a
number of different companies. Most
companies that make mainstream music
magazines are part of a conglomerate company.
Only a few magazines are produced by
independent companies, and these tend to
be free/cheap publications or local fanzines,
such as Sandman Magazine in Sheffield,
founded and still run by two journalistic
What are magazines for?
• Magazines serve as a tool to bring advertisers to
• In a music magazine, everything is an advert – it
tries to sell you a brand persona of a band/artist,
albums, singles, gig tickets, downloads, dvds,
• Music magazines also advertise anything else
that would appeal to its target readership
(clothes, technology, cosmetics etc)
Ang’s ‘Imaginary Entity’
• Ien Ang (1991) in her book Desperately
Seeking The Audience discussed the manner
in which media producers and institutions
view audiences as an ‘imaginary entity’, as a
mass rather than as a set of individuals.
They will, however, often have a ‘typical’
audience member in mind when they
• Audiences are targeted by media
institutions based on demographic
variables such as gender, age, class,
sexuality, occupation, hobbies, where they
live, wealth etc.
• In terms of magazines, the bigger the
readership the more the magazine can
charge for advertising.
• Advertisers still like advertising in magazines as
they can reach very specific target markets.
• Most music magazines have a very specific target
readership based on age and musical taste, rather
than social class (unlike lifestyle magazines).
• 16 - 24
25 - 34
(and just to be confusing 16 - 34 as well)
35 - 44
45 - 54 and finally 55+
• The term circulation means how many copies of
each issue are sold.
• The term readership means how many people
actually read the copy (think of how many times you
have bought a mag and your friend have read it ‘for
• The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is a nonprofit circulation-auditing organization. It audits
circulation, readership, and audience information for
the magazines and newspapers.
• ABC provides verified information critical to
the media buying and selling process
(advertising) by conducting independent,
third-party audits of print circulation,
readership and Web site activity.
• This information is therefore vital for
magazine companies to sell their product
to advertisers, which is how magazines
make money. Cover prices only cover
production costs. ABC also maintains an
electronic database of audited circulation and
Research Bauer www.bauer.co.uk
Research IPC Media www.ipcmedia.com
Go to the ‘OUR BRANDS’ on both. Then answer the following:
1. List which music magazines they own.
2. What are their main sub-genres? How much do they
3. Do they cater for mainstream or niche audiences?
(demographic) Why do you think this?
4. Pick 3 and try to expand on their demographic
readership and find circulation figures (ABCs). Detail
how the magazine tries to target this demographic with
reference to content (images/articles).
5. How do these magazines use the process of synergy
to sell the brand (think about cross media products!!)?
Give as many examples as you can.