Music mags have lost their ads

Music mags have lost their ads


norman lebrecht

November 25, 2020

There was a time when the Christmas issue of Gramophone and BBC Music magazine was so thick with advertisments that readers struggled to find editorial content.

Labels, for their part, fough tooth and nail for the privilege of occupying the magazine covers, inside and out.

Those were the days.

The Christmas issue of BBC Music is so ad-light its inside covers are occupied by a Norwegian label and a music competition in Utrecht.

Let’s hope they have other revenue sources to see them through difficult times.



  • henry williams says:

    iam sure it is because people read everything on the computer.

    • Y2K says:

      Yes. I cannot remember the last time I actually read a classical music print magazine. These are lean times for classical music and print media is no exception.

      • Mouse says:

        Isn’t it funny? At times when major labels booked full-page ads for Anna Netrebko, Murray Perahia or Yuja Wang, the connoisseurs of classical music turned away in disgust. Magazines praised independent productions, while hypocritically asking majors for “support” through adverts.

        Now, content is attracting the audience’s attention: labels publish their music (and communicate directly), magazines their articles. It will be interesting to see which content will be more relevant for audiences in the long run… I simply can’t imagine that cynicism, negativity and arrogance is enough as a selling point…

        • dijon says:

          Exactly, don’t feel sorry for the mags at all, serves them right for selling out and only putting paid for stars on the front page and major articles, whilst ignoring the real talent who deserved more publicity.

          • Marge O. says:

            Bingo! Lowest common denominator propaganda pieces, ads showcasing trash in bikinis playing pianaforte, and catering to deluded classical musak groupies who did not live in reality was their demise.

  • Firing Back says:

    If they’d stopped churning out the same old bilge – no imagination, zero initiatives, same tired faces, etc etc – they’d indeed have some other revenue sources.
    Alas, they didn’t, so they don’t.


    • CarlD says:

      I was a lifelong newspaper journo until the digital revolution caused newsrooms across America (and around the world) to cut staff by half or more and I had to retire prematurely. But though may give me an axe to grind, it also reflects the severity of the impact of the move to online-based information, first by younger readers and today by most everybody. The only problem — other than the impact on publishing institutions — is that it’s silly to think that what is gleaned for free on the internet is of equal value to what professional journalists produce. I won’t speak to the magazine world, by I do agree that the editorial management of newspapers has been a bit unimaginative in their responses to the situation. But mostly I blame the business side, which seems to know no other response than to cut back on labor costs and other overhead — with the predictable impact on editorial quality and readership. FWIW, I have print subscriptions both the Gramophone and BBC Music and value both.

    • Marge O. says:

      Same old putrid faces, same wealthy benefactors (elitist bilge), trust funder boomers dancing the night away as they wolf down steak and lobster at a classical musak fun raiser, rubbing elbows with a millionaire con ductor, and neponomics. No thanks. Will not support the carnival of the conned. leave that to the us-ians.

  • tomtom says:

    The BBC Music Mag, an august publication for sure. The cd recordings that accompany it are often of exclusive BBC concerts that are simply not available in the shops. Strength to its elbow…..

  • Gustavo says:

    The Christmas issue is already selling like hot Schnitzel thanks to Oma Tres.

  • this aspect of the classical music biz world has changed in the last century. When I pitch a story or an artist I am usually told my client would have more of a chance if they bought an ad….guess no one’s buying or paying for PR

  • Marge O. says:

    Maybe instead of taxes supporting war mongering and royality nonsense, how about supporting the arts/culture, instead of ads hu$tling marketing propaganda?

    • Marge O. says:

      Allergy to reality. Instead of paying 30.40, 50%+ taxes for garbage royality propaganda and war de jour -why not spent those taxes on arts and culture in a real way instead of typical anglosaxon window dressing and empty rhetoric? Cue: pc triggering.

  • Marge O. says:

    johnny t williams with “borrowing” from Holst, Hanson, etc.etc. yet featured on the front cover of a rag mag. Another hu$tler

    • Marge O. says:

      So, that’s interesting. So he did not borrow from Hanson, Holst, Schubert, etc..? Or was he simply a shill for the us empire corporation to sell yankee doodly songs for that masses to export us propaganda movies that manufactures consent?

      • Marge O. says:

        Evidence not emoting, not opinion: Symphony 2, last mvt, by Howard Hanson sounds just like a famous us empire movie musak featuring an alien from the galaxy. Perhaps, the cognitive dissonance are impairing logic and reason, or the pro yankee doodly propaganda (Eddie Bernays) is so strong that reality is not welcome and they enjoyed being lied to? would be a hallmark trait of the us-ian?