Deepening woes for classical magazines

Deepening woes for classical magazines


norman lebrecht

February 13, 2015

The latest ABC circulation figures for the second half of 2014 show steep drops for BBC Music and Gramophone magazines.

BBC Music circulation is down 9.2% to 36,330, Gramophone down 6.7% to 21,718.




  • Martin Cullingford says:

    Just a little clarification if I may: the figure you’ve given is only for print sales, but the main ABC figure now includes digital sales (e.g., for iPad or other tablets), a way that many of our subscribers are choosing to read the magazine. Gramophone’s official ABC total is therefore actually 24,380.

    Martin Cullingford
    Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

  • Patrick says:

    Does this figure include non-UK subscriptions (e.g. USA)?

  • Seeker64 says:

    Well, those magazines are a bit like the former Penguin Guide: you don’t need to buy or read them, just buy any record by a British artist or on a British label and you know that it has receieved (or will recieve) a glowing review in there anyway, thus saving you time and money. You might only need them after, if you want to have your great “taste” validated.

  • Seeker64 says:

    Actually, just like it was the case with the defunct Penguin Guide, unless you want validation of your «taste» ex post factum, there’s really no need to buy or read these magazines: just buy any product with any British element in it whatsoever (artist, label, etc) and you just KNOW that it received (or will rexceive) a glowing sycophantic review from these guys.

  • Bill says:

    None of this comes as a surprise. Most all so-called classical music publications have refused to adapt and refused to present themselves in a way that doesn’t appear pretentious and pandering to those in the inner circle. What I despise about the Grammophone Magazine, for example, is the use of phrases such as, “as of course is well known”, or “as everyone knows”, etc. This condescending attitude, which permeates the entire classical music world, who really only want to keep their club private and exclusive is now finally falling. It won’t be missed!

  • PrewarTreasure says:

    Agreed – ‘Gramophone’ won’t be missed in its current format, but what a run it’s had, and what a GREAT source of reference it was for real music lovers in the days when folk had the time and the interest to sit down in front either a horn, or an HMV radiogramme, or even ‘separates’ in the 1960s and 70s.

    The brand names, QUAD, ROGERS, SME, LEAK and so on were synonymous with the ‘Gramophone’ and I can go back to the days when Compton MacKenzie and Christopher Stone edited, Percy Wilson advised, and Geoffrey Horn and his business partner Philip Tandy reviewed – all gone now, for ever.

    Lower the Safety Curtain with reverence somebody, please, and the last one out switch off the lights.

  • Martin H says:

    The ONLY reason I subscribed to either (and I have already dropped Gramophone) was for reviews and information about new releases. But more and more, they both have too many stories more suited to People magazine about some overpaid performer. I don’t read the Jazz reviews, and the technical, equipment related articles are rarely informative. Fortunately, American Record Guide and Fanfare haven’t forgotten their primary function: review records. On top of that there are several fine internet sites that have current reviews, some for free. And then there’s the buyer comments on sites like Amazon. Gramophone and BBC Music just don’t offer that much to the reader, especially when you consider the fairly steep price of either.

  • John Purbeck says:


    Do you have the circulation figure for International Record Review? Perhaps some of the previous posters now subscribe to this serious minded magazine.

  • Elizabeth Yale says:

    Print sale drop is just a positive sign showing that people have started becoming smart readers and they have embraced the green revolution by subscribing to digital magazines. I am a publisher of 3 magazines and i am proud to state that my digital sales dominate my print. I have chosen Magzter to be my digital distribution platform and the overwhelming and worldwide response for my magazine is just amazing…… Lets have figures from the digital channel too and then decide about the revenue and sales graph.

  • Laraine Anne Barker says:

    Sadly, music doesn’t seem to be selling any more. At least that is the impression I get from searching through TradeMe (both expired and active auctions) where the only thing selling (either on LP or CD) is, to use a friend’s far too kind euphemism, “noise”. If this isn’t the case in the rest of the world I must come to the conclusion I was born into a nation of morons.

  • Guy says:

    I understand Harrods cleared the pianos – no small thing. Big is beautiful – but a hard sell.
    Imagine IQ thought processors (with ear & eye implants with EQ if required). Drip feed the
    Brain. Perish the thoughts.