The impact of the pandemic has been hard on the music industry, with gigs, concerts and festivals postponed until 2021 (with some uncertainty as to whether they will even happen then as the threat of a second wave looms). Independent venues are under threat now more than ever, with some crowdfunding to try and stay alive. Promoters have lost work. Musicians are unable to earn money or do what they love by playing live. The domino effect has been traumatic.
Prior to the pandemic, it has been no secret that magazines and independent venues were already struggling. With rent, business rates and other running costs forcing closures of venues, and the online age seeing magazines lose physical sales and advertising, the pandemic appears to be the final straw for many. Music magazine Q is among these, announcing they were folding after 34 years. Put under review by owner Bauer Media at the start of the pandemic, the decision to pull the plug on the magazine that once sold 200,000 copies a month was made due to a catastrophic hit on what was an already dwindling advertising revenue.
Launched in October 1986 by David Hepworth and Mark Ellen, the magazine reached peak success throughout the 80s and 90s, with the name Q a play on “cueing up” a CD. It’s closure signals a new era for music journalism, and – as sad as it is to see such a significant title dissappear – it signals a need for new ideas on how to keep the music press alive in a fast-paced age in which everything is available at our fingertips on a tiny screen.
Editor Ted Kessler apologised for the closure, adding “We’ve been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head about water in an extremely challenging print market. Covid-19 wiped all that out.”
From Tim Burgess to The Vaccines, there has been an outpouring of support and sorrow for the magazine. The final edition of Q magazine will be published later this month.