LONDON (CelebrityAccess) U.K music magazine NME is ceasing its print publication after 66 years.
The famed music mag will follow many of its peers, providing content online only at NME.com but will replace its cover star interview with a new weekly digital franchise, the Big Read, according to the Guardian. It will reportedly continue to print special issues like the paid-for series NME Gold.
“Our move to free print has helped propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com,” Paul Cheal, the UK group managing director, music, at NME publisher Time Inc UK, told the paper. “We have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.”
The Guardian noted that Time is consulting with NME‘s 23 editorial and commercial staff about “possible redundancies.”
NME began its publication in 1952, kicking off with a cover feature for The Goons, among others, and early writers were Bob Geldof and Chrissie Hynde, with film critic Michael Winner, who doubled as a film director. Fans included John Lennon, Malcolm McLaren and Marc Bolan. “New Music Express,” as the acronym spelled out, grew to a phenom in the 1990s, spearheading Britpop coverage (read: Oasis). The mag saw a circulation drop to 15,000 in 2015 and stopped being a paid title, according to the Guardian. A relaunch as a free title fell flat.
The announcement comes a week after Time was sold to private equity group Epiris.
The print mag has been known to be hemorrhaging money for years but Keith Walker, the digital director of NME, put a positive spin on the change.
“Our global digital audience has almost doubled over the past two years,” Walker told the paper. “By making the digital platforms our core focus we can accelerate the amazing growth we’ve seen and reach more people than ever before on the devices they’re most naturally using.”
Although NME is touting its streamlined operations, fans nonetheless are mourning the passing of an era with the hashtag #RIPNME
Shame but inevitable news about the NME going out of print, was a good read back in the day. I did however switch over to Select Magazine in the mid 90s, a far superior read, mourned by many. #RIPNME pic.twitter.com/6GPVDWe95A
— Paul Wright (@mrpaulwright) March 7, 2018