Kerrang! rocks NME's world

ABCs: Rock magazine Kerrang! has overtaken its weekly music rival New Musical Express and opened up a gap of nearly 6,000 copies between them. By Chris Tryhorn.

Rock magazine Kerrang! has overtaken its weekly music rival New Musical Express and opened up a gap of nearly 6,000 copies between them.

Kerrang!, which has just celebrated its 25th birthday, sold an average of 80,186 copies in the six months between January and June this year, up 5.3% on the second half of 2005, or 24.2% year on year.

Meanwhile, IPC-owned NME dropped 3.4% compared with the previous ABC period, to 74,206, taking it below the Emap-owned Kerrang!.

The Kerrang! publisher, Stuart Williams, put the magazine's success down to the cross-promotion enjoyed by the brand across Emap's TV, radio, internet, and other magazine outlets.

"Kerrang! readers are also some of the highest users of things like MySpace," he said. "But this hasn't stopped them reading the magazine, because the magazine can do things the internet can't."

The NME publishing director, Paul Cheal, said that the two magazines were not rivals as they had very little crossover in readership or advertising.

He added that NME's 0.8% increase in circulation year on year was the third consecutive rise on this basis, adding that the magazine remained "absolutely unique" in its ability to break new bands.

In the monthly music market, IPC's Uncut lost nearly 20% of its readers, both year on year and compared with the second half of 2005, taking it down to an average of 88,756 copies sold.

Mr Cheal said more than 10,000 copies previously given away as bulks had been discounted from the sales figure but admitted the magazine had work to do.

"We recognise Uncut has not been performing as well as it might and that's why we have refreshed the content and design," he added.

He said the effects of the May relaunch ought to be reflected in the next ABC six monthly circulation figures in February.

Emap's Q remains the top-selling music title, but it lost 6.1% of its sales compared with the last circulation period, taking it down to 158,271.

Mr Williams said Q had "caught a bit of a cold" on the back of a decline in the men's magazine market.

Mojo - another Emap title, focused on the older music fan - increased circulation by 1.2% to 121,746, which equated to a 6.2% rise year on year.

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Chris Tryhorn

The GuardianTramp

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