The iconic British music magazine NME, a publication which helped mould musical tastes for several generations and helped introduce thousands of groundbreaking artists to the wider public, has announced it will stop publishing its weekly print edition, ending a 66-year print run.
Founded in 1952 as New Musical Express, the magazine became essential reading for fans and a coveted platform for musicians through the eras of Beatlemania, prog-rock, punk, britpop, indie and more. In the publishing industry, it was particularly well regarded for having offered a number of leading writers and journalists a platform in the early days of their career, including Danny Baker.
For some, the writing had been on the wall. After slumping sales figures, in 2015 NME was relaunched as a freesheet funded by advertising, pushing circulation up to more than 300,000. The publication had received criticism over the past decade for losing its ‘counter-culture’ edge.
Publisher Time Inc. UK said Wednesday that it will be “focusing investment on further expanding NME’s digital audience.”
“NME is one of the most iconic brands in British media and our move to free print has helped to propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com ... at the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable.”
News of its print demise triggered a wave of nostalgia from fans and bands with many tweeting images of their favourite covers and the hashtag #RIPNME.
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg tweeted: “When I first started out, my ambitions were to make an album, tour America and be on the cover of the New Musical Express.”
Tributes also came from Paul Weller, Lily Allen, The Libertines, Kasabian, The Charlatans and members of the Happy Mondays and Mogwai.