The Magazine That Built An Empire
Advantages: weekly mainstream rock and metal news, reviews, interviews and live features
Disadvantages: some bands need to be covered in order to sell copies, which may anger a lot of fans
Kerrang! Magazine for most people is a household name. You will either relate it to as ‘that Goth mag’, ‘sell-out trash’, or ‘cutting edge’ – whichever opinion you share of the weekly rock magazine, it’s been one of the longest running glossy publications in the UK since it emerged from the pull-out pagers of more mainstream magazines in the early 80s.
Throughout the life of Kerrang! it is quite clearly an extension of a commercial magazine. This become more evident in the late 80s to early 90s when it was originally a Metal magazine, featuring a vast array of new wave UK talent. Once the Glam rock scene became big in USA, Kerrang! noticed the increase in record sales and decided to cover more controversial styles which in the eyes of many are borderline alternative.
From the slowly declining Thrash era of the late 80s, Kerrang! opted to aim its spotlight more towards the up-and-coming rock sub-genres such as Grunge that would compliment the Glam Rock which was heavily popular at that time. To keep the die-hard Metal fans sweet, the editorial staff found it hard to juggle what would sell and what would please its original target market. A number of alternative, indie and brit-pop ‘zines were starting to grow and they would feature some of Kerrang!’s current market, which encouraged the K! Team to delve deeper into the alternative market for bands that would quickly sell copies. A large industrious battle took place when the likes of RAW Magazine and Metal Hammer bi-weekly and monthly ‘zines challenged the Kerrang! crown. With Kerrang! being a weekly publication it had to fill its pages more regular and shift copies faster than its metal competition it was forced to jump ship and allow more radio-friendly acts into its pages.
When this happened, a huge number of fans split and disowned the magazine forever, which brought forth the likes of Terrorizer magazine, which supplied the hungry needs of the extreme metal scene that were once loyal K! readers.
During the years, many new genres came and went and it wasn’t until the birth of Nu-metal, which compromised and built a bridge between metal and something that would sell copies. At this stage Kerrang! became a major force in the world of Rock and Kerrang! Awards and Kerrang! Radio was born, which was shortly followed by the legendary Kerrang! TV.
Nowadays, the magazine is in a less stable position than during the Nu-metal (1999-2004) era. But with the revenues of both the radio and TV station, the Kerrang! empire is able to withstand a few subscription losses and progress even more.
A lot of metal fans hate Kerrang!, but at the end of the day, without it there would be an awful lot less rock fans getting introduced to the music they love.
Love or hate Kerrang! without it the rock and metal scene would be in an extremely poor state.
Summary: Don’t hate what makes you stronger