Music Magazines By Harry Appleyard
Introduction There are many music magazines in the world today. They have many similarities to each-other as well as many differences. This presentation will be focusing on the different types of music magazines, the genres the magazines explore and the methods the writers use to make their magazines appeal to various audiences. Examples for this presentation – Kerrang Q Smash Hits
Kerrang Kerrang is a weekly teen rock magazine published in the UK. It is usually sold for around £2.10 in most newsagents and super markets. It has existed for around 30 years and has become very successful/popular in recent years. Like some other music magazines, Kerrang uses convergent media, including radio and television. Kerrang even holds events such as concerts and tours. While Kerrang is already successful, convergent media is very effective for the promotion of the magazine and will attract new fans as well as keep the interest and sales going for a long period of time. The magazine does occasionally come with free gifts, such as posters and CDs. These are useful for persuading readers to come back to certain issues over a certain period of time and may make the magazine more interesting and fun to have for the target audience, who seem to be between 15 and 20 years of age. Why £2.10? Why weekly? To a lot of people, £2.10 is a price that is not too little but not too much. It is a good price for the amount of content that the magazine has and good value for money, especially when free gifts which would usually cost more than the magazine itself if sold separately are included. The magazine’s target audience may not have a long attention span for the magazine, even if they take interest in the free gifts and buy it on a regular basis, so a week gives enough time for frequent readers to gain and lose interest in an issue before buying another a week later.
How does Kerrang appeal to its target audience? Like all other official music magazines, Kerrang uses a wide variety of genre codes and conventions to appeal to its target audience. The front cover is arguably the most important part of the magazine, as it needs to make the music genre or genres used clear and has to gain the interest of buyers, familiar and new. On the front cover, we see title written in bold, black, capitals. This is the largest piece of text on the cover and also one of the most important pieces of text on the cover. Much of the cover is presented with the colours black, white and red. While white may not appeal to the target audience much due to its lack of association with the chosen music genre for the magazine, the black and red will as they are associated with the rock genre. Black possesses connotations of death, mystery and darkness and red possesses connotations of blood, violence and passion. Several images are used on the cover also, to suggest that the magazine has a lot to keep audiences interested for a long period of time. Many headlines are listed at the bottom. These have the same effect. Free downloads are mentioned in the splash also, encouraging the use of convergent media, which can be of interest to audiences when they are away from the pages of the magazine.
Q Q is a pop music magazine, which has been published once every month since 1986. While its publishers are based in the UK, it is distributed/sold in many areas of the world including the US. Unlike Kerrang, Q seems to aim more at a primary audience of around 18 years of age and older with sometimes explicit content. One issue published in 2010 was banned in the US due to showing topless photographs of the artist Lady Gaga. Like other magazines with appeal to adult audiences, Q is priced usually at £3.99. Q also uses convergent media including a website and radio channel. Q did once have a TV channel but it was shut down in spring of this year. Unlike Kerrang, Q is a monthly magazine and will have far more features than weekly music magazines. This may be the reason for the arguably high price.
How does Q attract its target audience? This particular issue of Q is a collectors edition and has been published with four different covers. Covers of Q are usually very similar, but those for this particular issue feature different artists in the main image and also different headlines. While some consumers may only wish to buy one copy of the issue, fans and followers of the pop genre may take interest in buying all four issues for the covers, perhaps because of appreciation for the artists shown or as collectors who may wish to own every issue. This is an effective way of attracting new consumers, making more money for the magazine. This particular cover uses several colours. Two of the main colours which usually appear on each issue include red and white, which are both associated with the pop genre with their connotations of love, passion ,purity and innocence. Black and light brown are also used, perhaps not to relate to the pop genre but possibly to be associated with other genres like rock, which often use dull dark colours. Like Kerrang, Q uses several headlines on the front cover to gain the interest of audiences. Using several headlines is a good idea, as not all consumers may take interest in all of the headlines, maybe even just one or two.
Smash Hits Smash Hits was a British pop magazine, published usually fortnightly in the UK between 1978 and 2006. Like both of the previous music magazine examples, Smash Hits used convergent media including a TV channel , radio channel and a website. It was aimed at young women between the ages of around 8 to 15. It was very successful for quite some time, but publishing of the magazine ended in 2006 due to declining sales. It was usually priced around £2.75, slightly higher than Kerrang, which was published weekly instead. It is highly likely that Smash Hits used free gifts to attract its young audiences such as posters and CDs. These will have been of interest to many, but the magazine may have been more successful if published weekly rather than fortnightly, as the younger consumers may have taken more interested and will not have forgotten the magazine easily over a certain period of time.
How does Smash Hits attract its target audience? During its time as a popular magazine, Smash Hits changed its front cover design on a regular basis to not only attract new customers but to also fit in with new fashion trends, especially those based around the world of music. This particular cover uses three colours often associated with pop. These include pink, white and yellow. These bright or “cool” colours will not only be of interest to pop fans who will know their connotations well but also to female audiences, who will recognise the colours from various other forms of media such as websites and TV. The magazine cover uses many images also, which gain more attention than the text, which maybe seen as dull by some consumers but the font does vary, to reflect the importance of certain headings and again to attract the target audiences. Some of the images are slanted also to resemble a scrapbook or diary and as diaries and scrapbooks are often used by young people, they may recognise and like the layout of this cover.
Plan For Music Magazine Production Chosen Genre : Rock/Heavy Metal I have chosen this particular genre as I feel have greater knowledge of the rock/heavy metal genre than any other music genre in the world today. I have also come to know rock and heavy metal magazines well since my participation in GCSE media studies. Thanks to my knowledge of the genre and its magazines, I have a very good understanding of their typical features, genre codes and conventions. Magazine Target Audience : Teens (15-19) As I am a teen myself, I feel I can easily consider and use features visual and written that can appeal to this particular age group not only within the front cover, but also within the contents pages and double page spreads of my music magazine. Features considered for target audience: • Free gifts (Posters, CDs, Download codes) • Colour schemes • Less advertisements/advertisement features than other magazines to maintain audience interest • Various font types to reflect and relate to the chosen genre • Reasonable price – Between £2 and £3 (Similar to potential competitor, Kerrang) • Publishing time : Weekly • General release magazine, available in newsagents, supermarkets etc. • Possible use of convergent media (Radio station, websites, twitter pages etc)
Music Magazine Prices (Various Genres) Rock – • Kerrang : Usually £2.10 (Weekly) • Metal Hammer : £3.99 (Monthly) • Total Guitar: £5.50 (Monthly) • Rock Sound: £3.99 (Monthly) Pop – • Smash Hits : £2.75 (Fortnightly) • Q : £3.99 (Monthly) • Top of The Pops : £2.99 (Monthly) • NME: Various but £2.20 in May 2009 (Weekly) • Clash: £3.99 (Monthly) General – • Uncut: £4.00 (Monthly)