Rhythm to close – Future pulls the plug on last UK print drum mag

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Rhythm to close - Future pulls the plug on last UK print drum mag

Rhythm magazine, Future Publishing’s drum title, is to close with its last issue scheduled for 12th March. Future cites ‘declining sales’ and ‘increasing costs’ as reasons for its decision to cease publication.

Founded by Music Maker Publications in 1985, Rhythm was part of an ambitious publishing programme which saw the UK musicians’ magazine market fragment into individual instrument sectors. Music Maker’s founders, Terry Day and Dennis Hill, went on to sell Rhythm and other titles (including Guitarist and Guitar Techniques) to Future Publishing in 1997.

In 2016, Future acquired Wes Stanton’s Blaze Publishing, acquiring magazine titles including Drummer, iDrum, Acoustic and Bass Guitar along with shows including The London Drum Show, The Acoustic Guitar Show and the Bass Guitar Show. Future closed iDrum and Drummer, concentrating its drum coverage into Rhythm, and later went on to close Acoustic magazine and merge the Bass Guitar Magazine with its US title Bass Player.

At the time of the Blaze purchase, Future’s CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said: ‘The acquisition of Blaze’s assets presents mutually beneficial opportunities in print, online and in events for both businesses. We’ll gain from their team’s specialist knowledge and insight, and the deal will further strengthen Future’s portfolio as we work towards fulfilling our long-term ambitions.’

Meanwhile, Future’s UK Commercial Director Clare Dove said: ‘This substantial investment in growing our music business demonstrates just how critical this sector is to Future Publishing and underlines our commitment to delivering the broadest possible range of advertising solutions to our valued commercial partners.’

Commenting today on its decision to close Rhythm, Stuart Williams, Future’s Brand Diector – Music, told MIN: ‘As part of the ongoing business management at Future we are required to look at the profitability of every magazine, look how it is performing and take a view on its current and future viability.  In Rhythm’s case, unfortunately, the combined market pressures of declining sales and increasing costs mean that the magazine is no longer profitable. The company has in recent months sought other avenues for the title, including a sale to another publisher, but no suitable buyer was found. It is Future’s intention, therefore, to close the title, the last issue being issue number 292, on-sale 12/3/19.

‘This decision is no reflection of the work that the Editor, Stuart Williams, and the Rhythm team have made in making the magazine a success. The staff is now in a period of consultation during which they are invited to prepare a counter-proposal to a closure.  Future will consider any such counter-proposal seriously and explore any ideas which would keep the magazine alive at its current frequency.  If no such model is found, however, the magazine will close as per the stated intention.

‘Future has been proud to publish Rhythm magazine and thanks those responsible for the title now and through its history.  We remain committed to serving the drum audience with the best content, and providing clients with a platform to promote their business, and so we are exploring options to find new ways of serving the audience through our market-leading site www.musicradar.com and we hope to share those ideas with you as soon as possible.  At this time, however, we ask that you respect the privacy of the staff involved’.