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Gramophone heads out to the burbs

All magazines owned by Haymarket are being shunted out to Richmond-on-Thames in a cost-saving exercise.

The record monthly has dropped to 27,466 sales and 1,481 digital circulation (source: Haymarket).



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  1. Will Duffay says:

    How do those sales figures compare to those of the good old days? (I stopped reading it years ago. The BBC music mag and International Record Review cover the two poles of CD reviewing. Gramo is lost between them and is too close to the record industry.)

  2. Halldor says:

    Personally, have never got over the symbolic betrayal of the moment when James Jolly, as editor, stopped wearing glasses in his photo-byline.

  3. Mark Fishman says:

    How do you sell a magazine about classical music — recordings, no less — to a generation that wasn’t exposed to classical music at school, at home, in church, on the air, by their peers — and for whom buying recorded music means downloading in private what they are already familiar with instead of browsing the unfamiliar with the help of a knowledgeable and enthusiastic salesperson (or other customers)?

  4. Robert Kenchington says:

    I’m not surprised at these figures. Caught between the life-style approach of the late Classic FM magazine and the Learned Journal style of International Record Review, Gramophone has failed to develop properly in either direction and has ceased to satisfy either the casual listener nor the hard-core specialist. Their reviews, once lengthy dissertations, are now skimpy paragraph-fillers and are usually published months after the recording under discussion has been released and sometimes even deleted – thus rendering the whole point of the magazine redundant.

    Much of the decline of Gramophone can be laid at the door of James Jolly who during the 1990s steadily ran the magazine down; changing style every few issues and aiming at trends and passing whims (including lots of Karajan-bashing and the sustained worship of John Eliot Gardiner) while record companies looked increasingly to the internet to advertise their products. John Irvine, Jolly’s successor, tried to bring a bit more depth back to the magazine but by then the damage had been done.

    For years, I couldn’t wait to buy Gramophone when it came out on the first Wednesday of each month because I knew it would always be first with news about new recordings from both major and minor labels, replete with big centre spread adverts and in-depth articles that taught you something new. More often than not, a new release advertised on one page would be accompanied by a review of it on the next page – and an informed and objective one at that!

    Now, it’s a sorry thing: produced on cheap paper and falling back on worn-out cliches like ‘Hall of Fame’ to sell a few copies it’s about time Gramophone was laid to rest.

  5. Peter Siebler says:

    I just took a digital subscription for nostalgic reasons, as I was a keen reader for 30 years or so. But on my 10″ tablet (Google N10) it is terrible. Almost unreadable. I would love a refund.

  6. Great to see the debate nice and lively but just two things to point out from the Gramophone reviews desk – firstly it’s incorrect to say that our reviews are shorter and less analytical; if you take a proper look at the current incarnation of the magazine and compare it with that from 20 years ago and longer, you’ll see that more often our reviews are longer, with more cited contextual references (and in a lot of issues, more actual products reviewed).

    Secondly we’re not being shunted out, actually moved further in: the magazine has been in Teddington (Zone 6) for many years now and before that it was in Harrow; Richmond, as you all know, is Zone 4. I won’t bore you all with other comments about the magazine’s recent increase in circulation or it’s high web traffic…

  7. Prewartreasure says:

    Late as usual posting, but here’s my two pennyworth.

    The death knell of Gramophone sounded when Percy Wilson passed away: now, how many of you so-called seasoned readers can remember those days?

    Not many, I’ll wager.

    Reviewers and critics like the late Geoffrey Horn and Philip Tandy (all hailed from Oxford as it happens – it must have been something in the River Cherwell wot did it) are no more, instead we have pimply faced kids who know b-all about the classics, and none of ‘em know the difference between a Thorens TD124 and an iPad.

    Gone for ever and mourned by the cognoscenti. On to Götterdämerung as they say.

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