Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom.
Q was founded in 1986 by Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, who 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 by the EMAP media group in October 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.
In January 2008 EMAP sold its consumer magazine titles, including Q, to the Bauer Media Group.
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.
Much of the magazine is devoted to interviews with popular musical artists. It is well known for compiling lists. It has created many, ranging from "The 100 Greatest albums" to the "100 Greatest '100 Greatest' Lists". 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 sister publication, 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 4 March 2007, Q named Elvis Presley the greatest singer of all time.
The magazine has a close relationship with the Glastonbury Festival, producing both a free daily newspaper on site during the festival and a review magazine available at the end of the festival.
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.
In 2006, Q published a readers' survey; the 100 Greatest Songs Ever, won by Oasis' "Live Forever".
Q has a history of associating with charitable organisations, and in 2006 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want was named its official charity.
In the April 2007 issue, Q published an article containing the 100 Greatest Singers, won by Elvis Presley.
Lady Gaga posed topless in a shoot for the April 2010 issue of the magazine, which was banned by stores in the United States due to the singer revealing too much of her breasts.
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 Drivetime with Danielle Perry and Q the 80s with Matthew Rudd. The station is transmitted on the digital television networks in the UK and online.
Coldplay were involved with the launch of the station by giving an exclusive interview on Q's flagship programme QPM on the launch day.
It was based in Birmingham alongside the now closed Kerrang! 105.2 after moving from London in 2009.
The station was closed in mid-2013 after owners Bauer media decided to use the station's bandwidth on various platforms (DAB, Digital TV) to launch Kisstory, a spinoff of their Kiss brand.
There was formerly a Q TV television channel in the UK, which closed on 3 July 2012.
Q also holds a yearly awards ceremony called the Q Awards.
In a 2001 interview in Classic Rock, Marillion singer Steve Hogarth criticised Q’s refusal to cover the band despite publishing some positive reviews:
In 2005, after winning the Q Legend award at the Q Awards, New Order bassist Peter Hook called the magazine "two-faced c***s who give us bad reviews".
A series of 'Q' albums have been released
- Q The Album Volume 1 (1991)
- Q The Blues (1992)
- Q Rhythm and Blues (1968)'
- Q Country (1994)
- Q Awards The Album (2000)
- Q Anthems (2001)
- Q The Album (2003)
- Q Covered the Eighties (2005)
- Q The Essential Music Quiz (2006) (DVD)
- Q The Album 2008 (2008)
- The Anthems - Q (2009)
CDs have been released free in Q magazines. One notable series of CDs are the 'occasional moods' series, consisting of 'Essential Chill Out' and 'Essential Dance' from 2001. Another series is The Best Tracks from the Best Albums of [year], containing Q's opinion of their favourite tracks from the years' favourite albums according to Q.World of Noise (CD in issue 104, 1995)
All the best music from the best bands of… Summer Festivals '98 (CD, issue 142, 1998)
Q Sounds New Music Now (CD with free-mini mag, 2004)
Q Essential Jukebox (CD, 2004)
Essential Glastonbury – the greatest hits from the greatest festival (CD, 2004)
- "Movin' On Up" by Primal Scream
- "Song 2" by Blur
- "Temptation" by New Order
- "Push It" by Garbage
- "The Ballad of Tom Jones" by Space with Cerys Matthews
- 'This Is Hardcore' by Pulp
- 'The Only One I Know' by The Charlatans
- 'Bombin' the L' by Fun Lovin' Criminals
- 'Let Me Entertain You' by Robbie Williams
- 'Brimful of Asha' by Cornershop
- 'Corpses in Their Mouths' by Ian Brown
- 'Broken Heart' by Spiritualized
- 'Bentleys Gonna Sort You Out!' by Bentley Rhythm Ace
Q Here Comes the Sun (CD, 2005)
Q Born in the USA (CD, 2009)
- 'Time Is Running Out' by Muse
- 'Imitation of Life' by R.E.M.
- 'Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart' by Manic Street Preachers
- 'The Village Green Preservation Society' by The Kinks
- 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead (A liner note on the Greenpeace-sponsored CD by Thom Yorke read: "Right now we are wiping out many rare and very important species, permanently. All for the sake of crap garden furniture and click-together floors. Fucking nuts.")
- 'Yellow' (live version from Coldplay Live 2003) by Coldplay
- 'A Forest' (acoustic version from Greatest Hits) by The Cure
- '1984' by David Bowie
- 'Do You Realize??' by The Flaming Lips
- 'Clones' by Ash
- 'Madame Helga' by Stereophonics
- 'Block Rockin' Beats' (live) by The Chemical Brothers
Sometimes, new subscribers to Q will be given a free CD, such as OK Computer by Radiohead for subscriptions made in January 2011.