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Q Magazine looks beyond music in revamp

LONDON - Q Magazine has unveiled a major redesign for its November issue, opting for middle-of-the-road entertainment coverage instead of its traditional music-driven focus, in a bid to lure readers amid falling circulation rates.

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Hitting newsstands on September 30, Q readers will find the new-look magazine has forgone the customary album review and band interview scheme to include several new sections -- touching on everything from travel and film to books and gadgets.

The revamp takes it down a path similar to IPC Media's Uncut, which also includes film and entertainment coverage alongside music.

Devised by editor-in-chief Paul Rees and new creative director Ian Stevens, who joins from fellow Bauer Publishing title Empire, the revamp will attempt to set the magazine apart from other music offerings filling newsstands.

Last month, Q retained its top spot as the biggest-selling music monthly, but still lost 17,000 sales (13.1%) during the first half of the year. Q's circulation rests at 113,000, with Mojo nipping its heels in the number two slot with 106,000.

The new issue features a duck-walking Angus Young on the cover, sporting his iconic schoolboy uniform, promoting the first major interview AC/DC has given in eight years.

Subscribers will receive a collector's edition of the issue with an exclusive "subscriber's only" cover.

Some new features include the Q Challenge where musicians are given challenging tasks. The first issue features musician James Morrison attempting to earn more than £20 by busking on the streets of Birmingham.

Also included is a regular Q Hero feature, which profiles US presidential candidate Barack Obama in the new issue.

A Rock 'n' Roll Travel section will show readers how to visit the key music destinations around the world and Alternative Blue Plaques has Q nominating the real sites of national interest.

New celebrity focused features include, My Collection where musicians or celebrities talk about their special collections and the Diary Of, a look behind the scenes of a celebrity doing out of the ordinary things.

A "must have" section will feature the 10 things you have to see or have each month, from gadgets to viral clips.

There are also new music-focused content including interview feature Cash for Questions, and A Round With, which heads down to the pub with different band each month.

Traditional features like Q50 and Q Review will remain in the magazine.

Since launching in 1986, Q has been maligned with criticism for "playing it safe" with its album reviews and cover mounts, although it continually remains market leader.

Rees, who formerly edited Bauer-title Kerrang!, defended the revamp saying that readers have more choice than ever and the new sections will deliver a broader range of entertainment news with the familiar Q spin.

Rees said: "In doing so, I believe Q now offers a genuinely different take on music and entertainment in general, befitting its status as a market leading magazine."

Q has recently branched out in other forms of media, including full service radio station Q Radio, which hit airwaves in June 2008.

It also launched the Q TV channel in the UK and annually holds the Q awards.

Comment: Okay, so I haven't seen all of the new issue of Bauer's Q magazine, which has been redesigned this month, but from what I have seen (the cover) I am already disappointed. AC/DC on the front cover? Oh come on. A bloke in a school uniform? That joke wasn't funny first time around or the second, third or fourth. Read Gordon's Republic blog post: Q the disappointment.

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