Rock’s best-loved magazines and websites return to their former home. Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog magazines have been rescued by their former owner, Future plc, a profitable and stable media business listed on the London Stock Exchange. All three magazines and their associated websites were threatened with closure the week before Christmas when previous owners TeamRock went into administration, with the loss of 73 jobs. The news prompted an online campaign from Orange Goblin frontman Ben Ward who set up a JustGiving page to raise money for affected staff. With a target of £20,000, the campaign reached £78,000 in five days and now stands at £85,000. Support came from across the music business, with Queen, Rush, Avenged Sevenfold, Machine Head, Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry, Frank Turner and more making donations and pledging support.
Now Future – the publisher of Total Film as well as musicians titles Guitarist, Total Guitar and Rhythm and the MusicRadar website – has acquired the magazines, domain names, events, radio license and websites of Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Blues and (Metal Hammer awards show) The Golden Gods.
“The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events & websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy,” said Zillah Byng-Thorne, chief executive of Future. “It further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams. We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”
Classic Rock, launched in 1998, sold an average of 51,000 copies per issue in 2015 .. Metal Hammer magazine, which uses the strapline “Defending the Faith”, launched in 1986 and sold about 20,000 copies a month according to the last officially audited figures and Prog, launched in 2009 to champion progressive rock music..
“The Editors and Art Editors of the brands are already back on board to help restart where we left off,” says Paul Newman, Editorial Director. “We hope to contact other former editorial staff and contributors in the near future and will provide an update about our intentions as and when we can.” Right now, everyone working hard to get the next issues in production and get back to business as usual. The latest issues of Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog were finished before the TeamRock news broke and are in the shops now and en route to subscribers.
Scott Rowley, Editor In Chief (Rock Titles), commented: “The last few weeks have been an absolute rollercoaster, first with the devastating news about TeamRock and then with the overwhelming response to that news – Ben Ward’s amazing campaign and the messages of support the whole team has received ever since. “TeamRock talked a lot about the power and the passion of the rock community, but the response to the company’s closure really showed what that looked like. We’re indebted to you all and won’t let you down.”
Now Future Publishing, the publicly listed digital, events and magazine company, has struck a bargain basement deal to buy the magazines, events and licence for the Team Rock digital radio service for £800,000. It was Future, that sold the titles to TeamRock for £10.2m in 2013. In recent years, Future shed almost 500 staff to reverse losses running to £35m and implement a new strategy focussed on its biggest magazine brands, digital and events. In 2014, Future sold off its 17 craft and bike titles to Immediate Media, the publisher of the Radio Times and Top Gear, in a £24m deal. In June 2016, Future acquired Imagine Publishing, owner of titles including All About History, Digital Photographer and World of Animals for £14.2m.