The music magazine sector covers a broad spectrum, from dance and rock titles to classical music magazines and technical titles. The popularity of music magazines follows the trends in the wider music market ­ and this has become more evident in the latest round of ABCs, in which the clubbing/dance music titles lost sales across the board, while rock-based titles increased sales on the news stand. Without doubt it was the weekly rock title Kerrang! that grabbed the headlines in this February's audit. Its growth on the news stand ­ up 72.5% year-on-year ­ was second only to the celebrity weekly Heat magazine. Stuart Williams, head of marketing, rock, at publisher Emap Performance, comments: "The growth of Kerrang! reflects the music trend towards new types of music movements, such as Nu Metal, and away from clubbing and dance music ­ all the dance magazines were down in the last audit." And as if its circulation leap wasn't enough to celebrate its coming of age ­ Kerrang! is 21 this year ­ it has now overtaken rival weekly NME for the first time. Williams says that in addition to the general shift in music trends, the success of Kerrang! is down to its ability to stay young rather than ageing with the readership, enabling it to continue to appeal to its typical 16-year-old reader. And he says retailers might be surprised to find that it's not just a lads' title either ­ 34% of purchasers of Kerrang! are female. The title is also being redesigned so by mid-May readers will see changes. Williams says the take-up of satellite TV has also helped boost the title's sales, with Kerrang! launching its own channel last April: "There was a shift in music magazine sales last year with the launch of satellite TV channels. The sort of music Kerrang! covered didn't have any other outlet so the Kerrang! TV channel affected sales of the magazine ­ as does the web site." Covermounts ­ which have become an integral part of the sector ­ also help boost sales, says Williams. "We can't covermount every issue of Kerrang! because we are weekly, but we do it every month and those issues sell more copies. Last year we did five CDs, a video and also paper covermounts." The title is also marketed at retail. Williams says: "Independents represent a disproportionately high percentage of sales for us and we work closely with Frontline with regards to retailers. Our ranking in Tesco and Asda has also increased ­ we are replacing NME in some outlets, and with a cover price of £1.80 we offer a higher rsv for the retailer." Williams says one-shots are also popular across the Emap Performance portfolio, which includes Q, Mixmag and Mojo. "During the year we always have a one-shot across the magazines, making it easier for the retailers to fit them into their planogramming." While IPC's stalwart music title NME did not enjoy the same level of growth as Kerrang! in the last audit, the title performed strongly, with a news stand ABC of 65,562 ­ an increase of 4% year-on-year achieved, points out IPC, with only two covermounted promotions in the six-months. The title also has a successful web site and publishes one-shot specials with a premium cover price. Mike Soutar, managing director at IPC ignite!, said: "The weekly music magazine market is the strongest it has been for a number of years with younger readers expanding the marketplace, driven by changing music trends towards UK and US rock­the title is developing in leaps and bounds with each issue and NME is well placed to take advantage of this emerging new market over the coming year." In the monthly music magazine market, the bestselling news stand title is Emap's Q magazine, which covers all genres and is aimed at the mass market. The Q brand also extends to a satellite television channel and regular one-shot titles. "Q magazine covers the best of each genre, in terms of what is selling best ­ it talks about what is big at the moment," says Williams. Q, which has a news stand ABC of 134,491, is way ahead of its nearest competitor, Mojo, from the same Emap Performance stable, although the titles do differ in target readership. Williams describes Mojo as Q's cooler brother'. "While Q talks about what's big at this moment, Mojo is just about quality music ­ contemporary or old, although the bestselling issues tend to feature young bands," he says. And Emap hopes that sales of Mojo will soon be boosted ­ it is about to incorporate its spin-off title Collections into the magazine, adding an extra 30 pages and increasing the cover price to £3.50. Rival monthly Uncut, aimed at 25-year-old men, takes a different approach in that it covers music and movies. But it's an approach that seems to pay off ­ the title was up 27% on the news stand to 44,345 in the last audit. "Uncut has been one of the fastest growing magazines in the UK for the last 12 months," says publishing manager Richard Coles. The title, which has media partnerships and sponsorships with Virgin AM and VH1, has also tried sophisticated covermounting strategies. It carries a CD every month and Coles says: "The January issue of Uncut had two different covers and two different CDs, for consumer choice. "The magazine sells well through independents and with them we take part in retail schemes with posters and racking," says Coles. "With larger retailers we do magazine of the week schemes with point of sale and posters. He adds: "With Uncut we will have the most ambitious promotion to date on the June cover with our biggest single retail spend," although details are being kept under wraps. As rock music become more popular, dance music's popularity is beginning to wane, although titles such as Mixmag still sell 66,454 on the news stand. Muzik magazine, meanwhile, has just had a redesign and marketing push to boost sales. The classical music sector also saw a slight decline in the last period with UK newstrade sales down 5.4%, although this excludes the un-audited sales of the reviews-based International Record Review. The bestselling classical news stand title is Classic FM at 26,574, with other core titles including Gramophone and BBC Music. Jonathan Gifford, associate publisher, Specialist Interest Titles, BBC, says the classical music magazine market is stable, with each title targeting slightly different audiences. As in the wider music magazine market, covermounting is key, and BBC Music includes a CD of a full work each month. He says: "The cover CD is integral to the overall magazine package and provides an emotional element to the intellectual property of the magazine." The magazine is due for a facelift soon, and has 10th birthday celebrations in the autumn. Guitar is another strong area of the music magazines. Again, CD covermounts are a key feature and offer a high perceived value, allowing magazines such as Total Guitar, which has a news stand ABC of 21,685, to sell for £4.99, offering retailers excellent margins. {{CTN }}