Back in the day before CDs gained popularity over vinyl and particularly cassette tape, popular music magazine cover freebies were invariably the latter. Although the NME did, from time to time, delve into the freebie 45rpm cover single thing.
Here’s a selection of those I still have from those days, some of which are now quite collectible; the asking price for the ‘Unheard Pleasures’ tape (for example) ranges between £10 and £40 on some specialist sites.
Sadly, three of the mags these freebies came with no longer exist.
‘Select’ was known particularly for covering Britpop and ran (coincidentally) between July 1990 and January 2001 coinciding with the rise and fall of the genre.
‘Vox’ was originally billed as a sister magazine to the NME and was originally set up as an alternative to Q to cover the more alternative end of the market. It folded in the late 1990s.
‘Smash Hits’ was the longest running. Aimed at teenagers, it ran between 1978 and 2006 and was issued on a fortnightly basis.
[Select – ‘Secret Tracks 2’, ‘The Island Tape’, ‘Unheard Pleasures’ and ‘Island Select’. Vox – ‘The Phone Box’, ‘Radio Daze’ and ‘The Vox Box’. Smash Hits – ‘Rave’. And, for good measure, one from an existing publication, ‘NME presents Radio 1 Sound City Oxford 97’]