Editor's Desk: Simon Harper, Clash and ClashMusic.com

Music magazine Clash is celebrating its 50th edition this month with a redesign. We ask the editor to tell us about the changes.

Simon Harper: editor of Clash
Simon Harper: editor of Clash

Describe the magazine
Clash is an award-winning monthly magazine that brings the best in music, fashion and lifestyle to a savvy youth audience. Clash introduces the best new music alongside classic artists and the latest underground rumblings.

Who are your competitors and what makes you different?
Our real competitors are the free-sheets and websites that fight for information and prevent people buying magazines. Clash has become the cool alternative for an audience who expect to dig a little deeper and find passionate, intelligent writing about their favourite artists. The music industry knows this, and chooses Clash as a direct route into that readership.

You are about to launch a redesign for your 50th edition. What editorial changes have you made to the title and why?
The new-look Clash has had a complete makeover. This ranges from the loss of some regular features - to breathe fresh air into the title - and the introduction of section openers - easing the flow and direction of the magazine - to an expansion of the magazine's lifestyle appeal: technology, the Internet, and home entertainment are the primary pursuits of our core audience. While the music industry finances decline further, lifestyle brands continue to advertise, using music as its entry point to young customers. 

Who reads your mag/site?
ClashMusic.com has become the go-to site for music news and reviews. It has an international audience of 250,000 unique users a month. Clash Magazine’s largest demographic is the 21-30 bracket - these are people who know what music they like and are open to investigate further. Of the magazine's readers, almost 80 per cent own an iPod - our content is as varied and unpredictable as any good playlist.

Of which story are you most proud?
It’s always the next one we’re working on. I have enjoyed our retrospective specials - celebrating anniversaries of The Stone Roses, The Clash, Nirvana and Warp Records; charting their history and success with in-depth features and interviews with the main protagonists.

What opportunities are there for PRs to get coverage and what tips can you give them to be successful?
First, know the magazine and know what music we cover. Don't be relentless: desperation is an instant turn-off. Be genuine - if you are really passionate about your band, there's a good chance we may be too.

What are your own personal media must-haves
Among others, I buy Spin and Mojo, I pick up Stool Pigeon, and I browse Pitchfork and DiS. At home, 6Music is usually on somewhere - and long may that continue. A music biography is usually close at hand - current reading is ‘Elvis And Me’ by Priscilla Presley; suitably cheesy. DVD box sets are a godsend - Entourage is currently tickling my funny bone. Twitter is a handy distraction - follow @simon__harper or @clash_music.

Circulation: 47,235
Contact details:
Reviews editor - Nick Annan: 01382 808 808 nick@clashmusic.com
Online news editor - Robin Murray: 01382 808 808 robin@clashmusic.com
Deputy editor - Matthew Bennett: 0207 734 9351 matt@clashmusic.com
Editor - Simon Harper: 0207 734 9351 simon@clashmusic.com

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