'The Fly' - once the UK's most read music magazine - to close

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Music magazine The Fly, which was once the UK’s widest read music title, is to close after 15 years.

Founded in 1999, The Fly was given out free in music venues, pubs and retailers and enjoyed a circulation of more than 100,000 copies at its peak.

The monthly magazine, which began as a listings leaflet for Camden venue The Barfly, lost almost half of its circulation following the closure of 81 HMV stores last year when the chain collapsed into administration.

Its owners, MAMA, a live music promoter and venue operator, said it was closing the title, which recently held its first awards at the Forum in London.

A MAMA statement read: “After nearly 15 years of pioneering new music journalism, the owners of The Fly are officially closing the magazine as a result of current market conditions surrounding publishing.

“We offer gratitude and wish well all the staff and contributors that have allowed us to deliver the UK's longest serving monthly free sheet.

“To the multitude of artists and musicians that have graced our covers, the advertisers and sponsors who have supported us and our loyal readers, we salute you.”

Long-term editor JJ Dunning has taken ownership of the brand, which may continue in an online form. MAMA said it wished him well in “taking the brand forward.”

Benefiting from its free distribution, The Fly surpassed Q, Mojo and NME to become the UK music publication with largest circulation.

However the music publications sector is in steep decline, with the 60-year-old NME’s weekly sale falling below 20,000 copies. Market leader Mojo sells 74,000 and has suffered an 11 per cent fall over the past year.

However the NME has more than one million web readers and is targeting paid-for tablet editions as a means of capitalising on its digital audience.