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July 20, 2020

‘Iconic’ Q magazine closes after 34 years as Bauer fails to find buyer

By Charlotte Tobitt

The “iconic” music magazine Q is closing after almost 34 years as owner Bauer Media has failed to find a buyer.

The final issue of Q, its 415th, will be published on 28 July. It was founded in October 1986 by the Emap media group and sold to Bauer in 2008.

Editor Ted Kessler tweeted: “The pandemic did for us and there was nothing more to it than that.”

Bauer is also closing car magazine Modern Classics on 29 July while it has sold the magazines and websites of Sea Angler, Car Mechanics and Your Horse to Kelsey Media.

Bauer’s chief executive of UK publishing, Chris Duncan, said: “We are pleased to have found such suitable new owners in Kelsey Media who can extend the life of these magazines and we wish the brands and teams every success for the future.

“We have been unable to find equivalent new owners for Q and for Modern Classics and have decided to cease publication of these titles with immediate effect.  We thank those teams for their work on these iconic titles.

“These tough decisions were made to help us recover and rebuild through the Covid-19 crisis.  We will continue that process with our remaining portfolio of world class titles.”

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Q had an average monthly circulation of 28,359 in 2019. Twenty years ago, in 2000, that was 204,014.

In his final editor’s letter for the magazine, Kessler wrote that the closure was “an eventuality that nobody could’ve predicted as recently as March”.

“We’ve been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head above water in an extremely challenging print market. Covid-19 wiped all that out,” he said.

The Q team had thought that last month’s issue could be the last, but were told the day after it was printed that there was interest from a buyer and that negotations were ongoing.

Kessler added that he hoped the final two issues, which complement each other as a “twin-salute to Britain’s last great contemporary music magazine”, will inspire someone else to “fill that huge Q-shaped hole on the newsstand”.

“If they do, I know just the editorial team,” he said.

Last month Bauer also closed fellow music title Planet Rock, “true-life” magazine Simply You, and Practical Photography.

It also closed the print and digital editions of Mother and Baby to focus instead on the brand’s online presence and flagship awards event, while Golf World was lost as a standalone brand after more than 40 years as it merged with Today’s Golfer magazine.

It said these titles were “unlikely to be sustainable” after the Covid-19 crisis and that the closures were needed to “protect the long-term health” of the business.

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