Q magazine to close after 34 years — ‘rock bible’ falls victim to coronavirus pandemic

Q magazine, the rock title whose fortunes soared with the rise of the CD, is to close after 34 years.

The music monthly blamed the impact of Covid-19 on print and advertising sales for the decision, taken by publisher Bauer Media.

Q’s fortunes had been in decline for some time. Circulation had fallen from a peak of around 200,000 to just 20,000 copies.

New owner sought

After placing the future of the title under review, Bauer had suggested a buyer could be found for Q, which enjoyed a close relationship with regular cover stars such as U2, Radiohead, Oasis and Coldplay.

However editor Ted Kessler said in a Twitter post that the July 28th edition would the Q’s last. “The pandemic did for us and there was nothing more to it than that,” he wrote.

In a farewell editor’s letter in the final edition, he added: “Hopefully these final issues will provide inspiration for someone canny enough to fill that huge Q-shaped hole on the newsstand.”

CD boom fuelled Q’s rise

Launched in 1986 by journalists and broadcasters Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, Q benefited from the post Live Aid-boom in CD sales. It was famed for its extensive reviews section.

Its writers enjoyed close access to bands including The Rolling Stones and U2. Its annual awards were often riotous affairs attended by rock and pop legends.

Liam Gallagher said it would be a “tragedy” for Q to close, since “there are no other music publications left that can compare.”

Bono: ‘Q had everything’

Bono said: “A great Q interview was like going out with your best mate all night and ending up the next morning at confession with Q as priest and barman. It had everything I want from a music mag, all the serious and the silly.”

Like NME, which closed its print edition in 2018, Q found the transition from print to the digital era hard to navigate. Guitar-based rock, with its mouthy stars, had also lost is centrality in the lives of music fans.

Bauer Media has also closed Planet Rock magazine, another victim of its Covid-enforced review into the viability of ten titles in its portfolio.


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