As Director of Marketing and Artist Relations for NGW, it is my job to keep tabs on what are in the latest guitar magazines, and what guitarists are receiving the most attention. We advertise in all the major mainstream publications, and several niche magazines. It is interesting to me how the guitar magazines (which aren’t huge publications in the grand scheme of the magazine industry) are effected by the current economic conditions.
In speaking with our students at several campuses, I found out that younger students lean more towards Guitar World and adult students are split between Guitar Player, Premier Guitar and Fretboard Journal (which is an AMAZING new magazine). Acoustic Guitar Magazine seems to be split fairly evenly among the age demographics among the students I talked to.
This year we had 8 page spreads in both Guitar Player and Premier Guitar. As far as I know, no company in recent memory has had such a large presence in a single issue. Both PG and GP have considerably different circulations and even target audiences. I respect Premier Guitar for their focus on a missing aspect in the mainstream guitar media. They focus largely on gear with some educational content. Most of their covers feature some type of gear. Outside of Vintage Guitar Magazine (which has a smaller circulation, I believe) they have the most gear coverage than either Guitar Player or Guitar World.
How does the coverage that these magazines give to products or artists translate into popularity?
I can honestly say that if I wasn’t for my job, I would probably rarely read these magazines unless there was something very specific I was looking for. For products such as guitars and amps, it would be relatively easy to see if an increase in press coverage equals more sales of that particular product. For artists, it’s much more abstract.
If you read about a particular artist in the magazine, does that motivate you to either buy a CD or go to a show?
Obviously who is on the cover is very important to the magazines. How many times have you seen Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, or Eddie Van Halen on the cover? Trust me, it isn’t because they have something new to cover (for the most part).
My opinion is that there isn’t a single magazine that is representative of guitarists as a whole. Each magazine has it’s own niche and that is great.
What are your opinions are the current guitar magazines?