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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 18:27 GMT
Kerrang! overtakes NME
Kerrang! is also a TV station and website
Kerrang! is also a TV station and website
Rock magazine Kerrang! has become the most popular weekly music magazine in the world, overtaking the once-mighty New Musical Express for the first time.

Kerrang!'s circulation jumped almost 50% in the second half of 2001 thanks to the a renaissance in rock music with bands like Linkin Park, Alien Ant Farm, Slipknot and Limp Bizkit.

Kerrang! is also a TV station and website
Marilyn Manson was recently guest editor of Kerrang!
It also had a radical relaunched that shed its unfashionable heavy metal image 18 months ago, and is now bought by almost 77,000 people per week, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

NME, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has seen its circulation slump to just over 70,000 from a peak of 230,000 in the 1960s.

That is despite the closure of its previous main rival, Melody Maker, at the end of 2000.

Kerrang! - whose motto is "Life is loud" - is now also a digital TV channel, an awards ceremony, a website, a series of compilation albums, and promotes gigs and club nights.

The magazine was launched in 1981 and boasted the first UK interviews with bands including Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Marilyn Manson.


The fans are getting younger and younger and... are absolutely bored of pre-packaged pop rubbish

Jason Arnopp
Deputy editor, Kerrang!
"Kerrang! has a dodgy past that is associated with dodgy bands wearing overly tight latex trousers, and anyone who knows what's going on in music today knows that is dead in the water," deputy editor Jason Arnopp told BBC News Online.

"There's a new generation of kids out there - they've helped to fuel Kerrang! and hopefully we're helping to fuel them.

"If you go to gigs, the fans are getting younger and younger and these kids are absolutely bored of pre-packaged pop rubbish."

He said rock music had enjoyed a major resurgence of its own accord, and Kerrang! had ridden the wave.

Kerrang! is also a TV station and website
The NME holds an annual awards show
But sales of the NME, which traditionally focuses on indie music, have sunk to levels that commentators have described as "alarming".

It sold an average of 70,456 copies per week between July and December 2001 - down 47,000 on its level five years ago.

But it will hope to revitalise its sales when its 50th anniversary celebrations get into full swing with its annual awards ceremony and the launch of a series of one-off commemorative issues, NME Originals, later this month.

NME's editorial director Steve Sutherland recently told BBC News Online that the magazine had been aware that it was not engaging with younger music fans.

It was trying to diversify and cover all kinds of "exciting music", not just indie, he said.

International

"We were very good at monitoring a certain area of music but had been slightly negligent in monitoring other areas of music," he said.

NME's publishers IPC were bought by United States media giant AOL Time Warner last summer, and there was the possibility of launching the magazine in the US, Mr Sutherland added.

Other magazines which published less frequently than Kerrang! and NME still attract many more readers.

Q sells an average of 200,000 copies per month, while Top of the Pops magazine - also monthly - is bought by 245,000 people.

See also:

28 Aug 01 | Music
Manson wins Kerrang! honour
02 Jan 02 | Music
Music of 2002: The expert views
15 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Melody Maker to merge with NME
01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Britpop bible closes
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