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4 December 2013

Limelight magazine faces closure

Limelight magazine faces closure

UPDATE: New developments re Limelight's ownership - see Resonate 11 December

Last weekend, news spread about the likely closure of the Limelight magazine from 13 December. A monthly arts and music magazine, published since 2006 by the UK-based Haymarket Media, Limelight has a circulation of roughly 9,000 copies (2012), a drop of about 11% from the previous year, which is in line with the downward trend of Australian mainstream papers and magazines during the same period.

The news about impending closure came after Haymarket Media had announced its departure from Australia and its intention to licence their brands to local publishers. No announcement has yet been made about buyers interested in taking over Limelight from 13 December.

Limelight was known until 2003 as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 24 hours magazine, known (especially during and after editor Suzy Baldwin's time) for in-depth essays about music, the arts and beyond. In 2006, the publishing of the magazine was transferred from the ABC Enterprises to Haymarket Media - also the publisher of the UK-based Gramophone.

In its earlier days Limelight was, like 24 hours, closely connected to the ABC's Classic FM music channel, whose program listings were until very recently responsible for a considerable portion of the magazine's printed content. Without this content, Limelight has still maintained a loyal, if smaller, readership, but has also at times been bitterly criticised for 'dumbing down'. Its most controversial article to date was arguably its ranking of Australian orchestras, based on 'blind' (and anonymous) listening panels earlier in 2013.

With Limelight's closure Australia will be left without a print magazine with an emphasis on classical music, apart from the more specialist Music Council of Australia's Music Forum, a print magazine distributed to MCA members (the option of making Music Forum an online-only publication is currently being discussed). The Australian Music Centre's Resonate online magazine is the successor of the hard-copy Sounds Australian, published in 1987-2006.

Further links

'Limelight Magazine under threat of closure' - an article on the Limelight website (29 November 2013)
'Limelight to be published by Haymarket Media' - an announcement by the ABC and the Haymarket group in July 2006

Anni Heino is a Finnish-born journalist and musicologist, and editor (Resonate, web, communications) at the Australian Music Centre.


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