Anthem’s History to Date
Anthem was established in autumn 2002 by Jon Bickley, Simon Lewis and Paul Pettengale – three former senior managers at Future Publishing. The aim was to create a broad-based publisher of market-leading magazines. In March 2003 the company launched its first magazine – MusicTech – bringing together for the first time both the computer software and traditional hardware elements of music recording and production. MusicTech immediately struck a chord and was soon established in the top two titles in the sector – nudging aside established competition.
In 2004 Anthem branched out to launch Italia! – a property and travel magazine that caught the mood of the ‘Place in the Sun’ moment. Against the established ‘Italy’ magazine and a counter-launch from the leading overseas property publisher at the time, Italia! fast became the best selling title in the sector. As tougher times arrived with the recession, the competition fell by the wayside, but Italia! is still going strong and has celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
Through the late noughties, Anthem established MusicTech brand extension MusicTech Focus, and expanded its Italian presence with the football title Calcio Italia and food magazine Taste Italia. The company also began experimentation with bookazines, publishing specials on George Best, Bobby Moore and the football World Cup – indeed we still publish World Cup Superstars today, with the 2014 edition our best seller yet. This period also saw the establishment of the company’s biggest and most important website – musictechmag.co.uk – now expanded and greatly enhanced as musictech.net.
It was in 2010 that the company made its next step change with the purchase of Guitar & Bass Magazine from IPC. This long sought after marriage solidified the company’s position in the music-making market, positioning Anthem as the leading independent music-making publisher. The new string to our bow rapidly led to expansion in the music market with Guitar & Bass Classics, Vintage Rock and Classic Pop all launched over the subsequent two years – making Anthem the only UK company to publish music-making and listening magazines.
Other titles to appear along the way have included the Burlesque Bible which we went on to sell to Latour Publishing and History of War which has recently been sold to Imagine Publishing.
The most recent game changer for Anthem has been the explosion of our food publishing portfolio. In 2011 we skipped an issue of Taste Italia Collection, and instead launched Cupcake Heaven as a one-shot. Success was instantaneous and we re-printed the first issue to meet the demands of WH Smiths and the supermarkets. Sensing greater things, we rolled out Baking Heaven and then Cake Decoration Heaven – and by the end of 2012 we had a monthly series of baking titles that is now the best selling magazine in its sector and fastest growing food magazine in the UK. 2013 saw the launch of World of Food which has now morphed into Free-From Heaven – the UK’s only free-from monthly, and also upcycling magazine Reloved.
Anthem is now clearly defined as covering two principle markets – Music and Food & Craft. We are the only publisher of music making and listening magazines, the fastest growing food magazine publisher and the UK’s fastest growing magazine publisher.