Q is a music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom, with a circulation of 130,179 as of June 2007.
Founders Mark Ellen and David Hepworth 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 in 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.
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. It also compiles a list of approximately eight albums, which it classes as the best new releases of the last three months.
Much of the magazine is devoted to interviews with popular musical artists.
The magazine is well known for compiling lists. It has created many, ranging from "The 100 Greatest albums" to the "100 Greatest '100 Greatest' Lists". The most famous of these is the classic "50 bands to see before you die". 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 movie-centric sister rag, 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.
Q is normally published at the beginning of a month but the September 1997 issue failed to appear until three weeks into the month. This led to speculation that it originally contained
material likely to be deemed offensive in the context of the death of Princess Diana.
- In 2003 Duran Duran won The Q Lifetime Achievement Award.
- In a 2006 poll involving almost 2000 people, Duran Duran's 1995 Thank You is voted The Worst Album Of All Time.
Q's current editor is Paul Rees, former editor of the UK edition of Kerrang!, another musical Bauer publication based on heavier rock/metal music.
Q has a history of associating with charitable organizations, and in 2006 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want was named its official charity.
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.
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 QPM with Samanthi, Russell Kane and Acid Jazz founder Eddie Piller.
Coldplay were involved with the launch of the station by giving an exclusive interview on Q's flagship programme QPM on the launch day.
Other Q brands
Q also holds a yearly awards ceremony called the Q Awards.