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New rock magazine will pack heavyweight punch

LOVERS of rock music have never had it so good for magazines. Since 1986 - when Emap Metro launched Q, a monthly magazine aimed at enthusiasts who had grown weary of the inky weeklies such as NME and Melody Maker - a whole rash of titles has hit the newsstands.

Now anyone who considers themselves too old for Top of the Pops but too young for Andrew Lloyd Webber can choose from Q, Vox (owned by IPC), Select (another Emap title) and other magazines and partworks with cover- mounted CDs and casettes.

With Q established as market leader (circulation 172,000) ahead of Vox (sales down 14 per cent in the last six months to 98,000), Emap is raising the stakes. On 15 October it is launching Mojo, a monthly title aimed at the more serious music enthusiast.

Priced at pounds 2.25 and edited by Paul du Noyer, a former editor of Q and with Mark Ellen, Q's launch editor, as editorial director, Mojo aims at heavyweight coverage of a select number of artists and bands.

Aimed at the 25 to 45 age group, compared with the 17 to 30 core market of Q, Mojo is expected to sell 40,000 copies rising to 55,000 within three years. According to Mr du Noyer, Mojo (as in Got My Mojo Working) will be a musical Newsnight to the Nine O'Clock News catch-all approach of Q.

This was evident from the dummy issue that Emap was jealously guarding last month. Neil Young is featured on the cover (wearing a pressed lumberjack shirt and a suspiciously ironed pair of jeans). Inside is an 18-page feature on Van Morrison, typical of the lead article Mojo will carry each month.

Album reviews are more selective, and many extend over a page or more. Country and blues recordings are also well represented. Magazine design mirrors content with a more sober, less jazzy approach, with pictures used big.

'We are aiming at the people who are less impressed by the more commercial acts,' says Mr du Noyer. 'Their interest is so intense and sophisticated that no existing music magazine has the depth of material on specific acts.

'There are a number of artists with whom people feel a great emotional bond, and it is those we will cover.'

But the magazine has two potential problems. Is there room in the market for yet another music magazine, and will Mojo not cannibalise Q's readership? Mr Ellen does not foresee a problem. 'It might attract some lapsed Q readers,' he admits. 'But many people might buy both, and we feel we are dealing with people whose appetite for music is enormous.' He is equally sanguine about market saturation.

(Photograph omitted)