The end of the fifty-quid bloke?


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The Independent Culture

Will the sad demise, announced on Friday, of music monthly The Word take its most famous customer with it? Or is he already dead? Fifty-quid bloke, a retail-customer-type made into a minor phenomenon in the mid-Noughties when David Hepworth, one of the men behind The Word, described him in a speech to the BPI in 2003, the year his magazine launched.

"This is the guy we've all seen in Borders or HMV on a Friday afternoon, possibly after a drink or two, tie slightly undone, buying two CDs, a DVD and maybe a book – fifty quid's worth," Hepworth said at the time.

The Word's editorial combined a mixture of old and new with a much-copied section in which interesting people recommended books, CDs, film and television. It offered up a handy monthly shopping list for £50-bloke. Or, in my case, £15-student.

But since Word – as it was then – launched in 2003, the high street has been emptied of almost all entertainment shops and the rise of Spotify et al has rendered physical music purchases less likely. Straitened financial times might have made him £20-bloke, too.

So is he now an endangered species? Or has he been replaced by the less-helpful-for-the music-industry, £0-kid?