The NME, once Britain’s top music weekly, is to publish its final print edition this coming Friday, its owner, Time Inc, has confirmed.
Launched in 1952 under the name New Musical Express, the weekly had suffered a reported 80 per cent circulation drop before opting to switch to free distribution in 2015.
Once the scourge (or the conscience, depending on your point of view) of the music industry, the NME’s relaunch as a free publication was initially hailed as a success but today’s announcement that it will cease print publication follows a period of dwindling advertising sales and continually increasing print and distribution costs. In 2017, the publisher launched the NME website and has confirmed that it will be focusing its attention on the growth and development of that and other associated online products.
Time Inc UK group managing director of music Paul Cheal told PressGazette: ‘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.
‘The print re-invention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of. 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. It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand’
The news come just weeks after Future Publishing told advertisers that Acoustic magazine’s March issue will be its last. Acoustic is the latest of the titles acquired in the 2016 purchase of Blaze Publishing that Future has closed, leaving just Bass Guitar magazine remaining.