NME to go free and expand from music into ‘brand reinvention’

NME first launched in 1952 as the New Musical Express

Music magazine NME is to be given away free from September in a bid to boost its circulation.

The weekly publication, which currently sells about 15,000 copies, will be distributed at train stations, shops and student unions around the country.

Its cover price of £2.50 will be waived and the print run increased to 300,000.

Publisher Time Inc said music would stay “at the heart of the brand”, but the magazine will also expand to cover film, fashion, TV, politics and gaming.

NME editor Mike Williams said: “NME is already a major player and massive influencer in the music space, but with this transformation we’ll be bigger, stronger and more influential than ever before.

“Every media brand is on a journey into a digital future. That doesn’t mean leaving print behind, but it does mean that print has to change. The future is an exciting place, and NME just kicked the door down.”


Launched in 1952 as the New Musical Express, the magazine sold in six figures in its heyday and was an influential part of the music landscape.

It helped launched the careers of writers including Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons and Danny Baker.

NME.com launched in 1996 as one of the first music websites. But as the brand reached almost four million people each week digitally, its print circulation steadily dropped.

Baker greeted the move on Twitter, posting a picture of him at its office in 1979 and saying: “And so… the NME is a free sheet now. Why not? The game’s up and the fire’s gone out.”

Via the BBC


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