Q (magazine)

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Q (magazine) logo.png
Editor N/A
Categories Music magazine
Frequency Monthly
Circulation 52,781 (ABC Jul - Dec 2013)[1]
Print and digital editions.
Publisher Bauer Media Group
First issue October 1986
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Website qthemusic.com
ISSN 0955-4955

Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom.

Q was founded in 1986 by Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, who were dismayed by the music press of the time, which they felt was ignoring a generation of older music buyers who were buying CDs — then still a new technology. Q was first published by the EMAP media group in October 1986, setting itself apart from much of the other music press with monthly production and higher standards of photography and printing. In the early years, the magazine was sub-titled "The modern guide to music and more". Originally it was to be called Cue (as in the sense of cueing a record, ready to play), but the name was changed so that it wouldn't be mistaken for a snooker magazine. Another reason, cited in Q's 200th edition, is that a single-letter title would be more prominent on newsstands.

In January 2008 EMAP sold its consumer magazine titles, including Q, to the Bauer Media Group.[2][3]


The magazine has an extensive review section, featuring: new releases (music), reissues (music), music compilations, film and live concert reviews, as well as radio and television reviews. It uses a star-rating system from one to five stars; indeed, the rating an album receives in Q is often added to print and television advertising for the album in the UK and Ireland.

Much of the magazine is devoted to interviews with popular musical artists. It is well known for compiling lists. It has created many, ranging from "The 100 Greatest albums" to the "100 Greatest '100 Greatest' Lists". Every other month, Q — and its sister magazine, Mojo (also owned by Bauer) — have a special edition. These have been about musical times, genres, or a very important/influential musician.

Often, promotional gifts are given away, such as cover-mounted CDs or books. The January 2006 issue included a free copy of "The Greatest Rock and Pop Miscellany … Ever!", modeled on Schott's Original Miscellany.

Every issue of Q has a different message on the spine. Readers then try to work out what the message has to do with the contents of the mag. This practice — known as the "spine line" — has since become commonplace among British lifestyle magazines, including Q's sister publication, Empire and the football monthly FourFourTwo.

Usual features include The Q50, wherein the magazine lists the top 50 essential tracks of the month; Cash for Questions, in which a famous celeb/band answers question sent in by readers — who win £25 if their question is printed; Ten Commandments, wherein a particular singer creates their very own ten commandments by which to live; and Rewind, in which they take us back in time through the history of music via archive issues of Q. On March 4, 2007, Q named Elvis Presley the greatest singer of all time.

The magazine has a close relationship with the Glastonbury Festival, producing both a free daily newspaper on site during the festival and a review magazine available at the end of the festival.

In late 2008 Q revamped its image, with a smaller amount of text and an increased focus on subjects other than music. This "Rolling Stone-isation" has led to criticism from much of the traditional Q readership, though it is yet to be seen if this change in attitude will dramatically affect sales.

Notable articles

In 2006, Q published a readers' survey; the 100 Greatest Songs Ever, won by Oasis' "Live Forever".[4]

Q has a history of associating with charitable organisations, and in 2006 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want was named its official charity.

In the April 2007 issue, Q published an article containing the 100 Greatest Singers, won by Elvis Presley.[5]

Lady Gaga posed topless in a shoot for the April 2010 issue of the magazine, which was banned by stores in the United States due to the singer revealing too much of her breasts.[6]

Q Radio

After a few years as a radio jukebox, Q Radio launched in June 2008 as a full service radio station with a complete roster. Shows and presenters include Drivetime with Danielle Perry and Q the 80s with Matthew Rudd. The station is transmitted on the digital television networks in the UK and online.

Coldplay were involved with the launch of the station by giving an exclusive interview on Q's flagship programme QPM on the launch day.

It was based in Birmingham alongside the now closed Kerrang! 105.2 after moving from London in 2009.

The station was closed in mid-2013 after owners Bauer media decided to use the station's bandwidth on various platforms (DAB, Digital TV) to launch Kisstory, a spinoff of their Kiss brand.

Other Q brands

There was formerly a Q TV television channel in the UK, which closed on 3 July 2012.[7]

Q also holds a yearly awards ceremony called the Q Awards.


Some critics and readers of the magazine have believed that it has lost its edge, and is now opting to play safe with who and what it covers, focusing more on the popularity of bands rather than their music.[8][9] The magazine awarded the full complement of five stars to the Oasis album Be Here Now in 1997 and compared it with the Beatles' classic album Revolver,[10] but the album went on to become widely considered to be one of their worst albums, with Noel Gallagher himself describing it as "the sound of a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck."[11]

In a 2001 interview in Classic Rock, Marillion singer Steve Hogarth criticised Q’s refusal to cover the band despite publishing some positive reviews:

At the 2006 Q Awards, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner criticised the magazine’s choice of boy band Take That for their “Idol” award. Commenting on the winners of the night, he said:

Album series

A series of 'Q' albums have been released

  1. Q The Album Volume 1 (1991)
  2. Q The Blues (1992)
  3. Q Rhythm and Blues (1968)'
  4. Q Country (1994)
  5. Q Awards The Album (2000)
  6. Q Anthems (2001)
  7. Q The Album (2003)
  8. Q Covered the Eighties (2005)
  9. Q The Essential Music Quiz (2006) (DVD)
  10. Q The Album 2008 (2008)
  11. The Anthems - Q (2009)

Promotional gifts

CDs have been released free in Q magazines. One notable series of CDs are the 'occasional moods' series, consisting of 'Essential Chill Out' and 'Essential Dance' from 2001. Another series is The Best Tracks from the Best Albums of [year], containing Q's opinion of their favourite tracks from the years' favourite albums according to Q.

  • World of Noise (CD in issue 104, 1995)
  • All the best music from the best bands of… Summer Festivals '98 (CD, issue 142, 1998)
  1. 'Movin' On Up' by Primal Scream
  2. 'Song 2' by Blur
  3. 'Temptation by New Order
  4. 'Push It' by Garbage
  5. 'The Ballad of Tom Jones' by Space with Cerys Matthews
  6. 'This Is Hardcore' by Pulp
  7. 'The Only One I Know' by The Charlatans
  8. 'Bombin' the L' by Fun Lovin' Criminals
  9. 'Let Me Entertain You' by Robbie Williams
  10. 'Brimful of Asha' by Cornershop
  11. 'Corpses in Their Mouths' by Ian Brown
  12. 'Broken Heart' by Spiritualized
  13. 'Bentleys Gonna Sort You Out!' by Bentley Rhythm Ace
  • Q Sounds New Music Now (CD with free-mini mag, 2004)
  • Q Essential Jukebox (CD, 2004)
  • Essential Glastonbury – the greatest hits from the greatest festival (CD, 2004)
  1. 'Time Is Running Out' by Muse
  2. 'Imitation of Life' by R.E.M.
  3. 'Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart' by Manic Street Preachers
  4. 'The Village Green Preservation Society' by The Kinks
  5. 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead (A liner note on the Greenpeace-sponsored CD by Thom Yorke read: "Right now we are wiping out many rare and very important species, permanently. All for the sake of crap garden furniture and click-together floors. Fucking nuts.")
  6. 'Yellow' (live version from Coldplay Live 2003) by Coldplay
  7. 'A Forest' (acoustic version from Greatest Hits) by The Cure
  8. '1984' by David Bowie
  9. 'Do You Realize??' by The Flaming Lips
  10. 'Clones' by Ash
  11. 'Madame Helga' by Stereophonics
  12. 'Block Rockin' Beats' (live) by The Chemical Brothers
  • Q Here Comes the Sun (CD, 2005)
  • Q Born in the USA (CD, 2009)

Sometimes, new subscribers to Q will be given a free CD, such as OK Computer by Radiohead for subscriptions made in January 2011.


  1. "ABC Certificates and Reports: Q". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 14 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Plunkett, John (11 February 2008). "Blaxill joins Bauer Radio". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 12 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Barnett, Emma (27 March 2008). "Bauer lines up Q Radio relaunch date". PRWeek. London, England: Haymarket Group. Retrieved 12 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. rocklistmusic.co.uk
  5. rocklistmusic.co.uk
  6. "Lady Gaga cover banned in the U.S."<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Bauer axes Q TV after nearly 12 years to make way for Heat TV". Brand Republic. 23 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "BBC - Q Awards Play Safe".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Brand Republic - Q Magazine Revamp".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Cocaine Supernova: Oasis' Be Here Now is 10". The Guardian. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Noel Gallagher: 'I don't want to make an album that's as bad as Oasis' 'Be Here Now". NME. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Dave Ling (May 2001) Interview with Steve Hogarth Classic Rock
  13. Brown, Mark (2006-10-31). "Oldies are golden at the Q awards". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links