Not to be confused with the Canadian music magazine Music Express.
For other uses, see NME (disambiguation).
|Editor||Charlotte Gunn (2018–present)|
|Categories||Music website and formerly magazine|
|Circulation||289,432 (ABC Jul – Dec 2017)
|Year founded||1952; 68 years ago (1952)|
|First issue||7 March 1952|
|Final issue||9 March 2018 (Print)
|Based in||Southwark, London, England|
New Musical Express (NME) is a British music, film and culture website and brand which has been around since 1952.
Originally a newspaper, with the publication being referred to as a 'rock inkie', the NME would become a magazine that ended up as a free publication, before becoming an online brand which includes its website and radio stations.
As a 'rock inkie', it was the first British newspaper to include a singles chart, in the edition of 14 November 1952.
In the 1970s, it became the best-selling British music newspaper.
It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s and 1990s, changing from newsprint in 1998.
The magazine's website NME.com was launched in 1996, and became the world's biggest standalone music site, with over sixteen million users per month.
With newsstand sales falling across the UK magazine sector, the magazine's paid circulation in the first half of 2014 was 15,830.
In 2013, its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and the way it was conceived was criticized by the media.
In September 2015, the NME magazine was relaunched to be distributed nationally as a free publication.
The first average circulation published in February 2016 of 307,217 copies per week was the highest in the brand's history, beating the previous best of 306,881, recorded in 1964 at the height of the Beatles' fame.
By December 2017, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, average distribution of NME had fallen to 289,432 copies a week, although its then-publisher Time Inc. UK claimed to have more than 13 million global unique users per month, including 3 million in the UK.
In March 2018, the publisher announced that the print edition of NME would cease publication after 66 years and become an online-only publication.
NME was acquired in 2019 by Singaporean music company BandLab Technologies.
NME's headquarters are in Southwark, London, England.
The brand's most recent editor is Charlotte Gunn, replacing Mike Williams, who stepped down in February 2018.
The paper was established in 1952.
The Accordion Times and Musical Express was bought by London music promoter Maurice Kinn for £1,000, just 15 minutes before it was due to be officially closed.
The first of these was, in contrast to more recent charts, a top twelve sourced by the magazine itself from sales in regional stores around the UK.
During the 1960s, the paper championed the new British groups emerging at the time.
The NME circulation peaked under Andy Gray (editor 1957–1972) with a figure of 306,881 for the period from January to June 1964.
These and other artists also appeared at the NME Poll Winners' Concert, an awards event that featured artists voted as most popular by the paper's readers.
The concert also featured a ceremony where the poll winners would collect their awards.
The NME Poll Winners' Concerts took place between 1959 and 1972.
From 1964 onwards, they were filmed, edited, and transmitted on British television a few weeks after they had taken place.
In the mid-1960s, the NME was primarily dedicated to pop while its older rival, Melody Maker, was known for its more serious coverage of music.
The latter part of the decade the paper charted the rise of psychedelia and the continued dominance of British groups of the time.
During this period some sections of pop music began to be designated as rock.
The paper became engaged in a sometimes tense rivalry with Melody Maker; however, NME sales were healthy, with the paper selling as many as 200,000 issues per week, making it one of the UK's biggest sellers at the time.
By the early 1970s, NME had lost ground to Melody Maker, as its coverage of music had failed to keep place with the development of rock music, particularly during the early years of psychedelia and progressive rock.
In early 1972, the paper was on the verge of closure by its owner IPC (which had bought the paper from Kinn in 1963).
According to Nick Kent (soon to play a prominent part in the paper's revival):
Alan Smith was made editor in 1972, and was told by IPC to turn things around quickly or face closure.
To achieve this, Smith and his assistant editor Nick Logan raided the underground press for writers such as Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, and recruited other writers such as Tony Tyler, Ian MacDonald and Californian Danny Holloway.
According to The Economist, the New Musical Express "started to champion underground, up-and-coming music....NME became the gateway to a more rebellious world.
Bands such as Sex Pistols, X-Ray Spex and Generation X were regular cover stars, eulogised by writers such as Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons, whose nihilistic tone narrated the punk years perfectly."
By the time Smith handed the editor's chair to Logan in mid-1973, the paper was selling nearly 300,000 copies per week and was outstripping Melody Maker, Disc, Record Mirror and Sounds.
According to MacDonald:
Led Zeppelin topped the "NME Pop Poll" for three consecutive years (1974–76) under the category of the best "Vocal Group".
In 1976, NME lambasted German pioneer electronic band Kraftwerk with this title: "This is what your fathers fought to save you from ..." The article said that the "electronic melodies flowed as slowly as a piece of garbage floating down the polluted Rhine".
The same year also saw punk rock arrive on what some people perceived to be a stagnant music scene.
The NME gave the Sex Pistols their first music press coverage in a live review of their performance at the Marquee in February that year, but overall it was slow to cover this new phenomenon in comparison to Sounds and Melody Maker, where Jonh Ingham and Caroline Coon respectively were early champions of punk.
Although articles by the likes of Mick Farren (whose article "The Titanic Sails at Dawn" called for a new street-led rock movement in response to stadium rock) were published by the NME that summer, it was felt that younger writing was needed to credibly cover the emerging punk movement, and the paper advertised for a pair of "hip young gunslingers" to join their editorial staff.
The pair rapidly became champions of the punk scene and created a new tone for the paper.
Parsons' time at NME is reflected in his 2005 novel Stories We Could Tell, about the misadventures of three young music-paper journalists on the night of 16 August 1977 – the night Elvis Presley died.
In 1978, Logan moved on, and his deputy Neil Spencer was made editor.
One of his earliest tasks was to oversee a redesign of the paper by Barney Bubbles, which included the logo still used on the paper's masthead today (albeit in a modified form) – this made its first appearance towards the end of 1978.
Danny Baker, who began as an NME writer around this time, had a more straightforward and populist style.
The paper also became more openly political during the time of punk.
Its cover would sometimes feature youth-orientated issues rather than a musical act.
It took an editorial stance against political parties like the National Front.
With the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the paper took a broadly socialist stance for much of the following decade.
In 2000, Steve Sutherland left to become brand director of the NME, and was replaced as editor by 26-year-old Melody Maker writer Ben Knowles.
In the same year, Melody Maker officially merged with the NME, and many speculated the NME would be next to close, as the weekly music-magazine market was shrinking - the monthly magazine Select, which had thrived especially during the Britpop era, was closed down within a week of Melody Maker.
In the early 2000s, the NME also attempted somewhat to broaden its coverage again, running cover stories on hip-hop acts such as Jay-Z and Missy Elliott, electronic musician Aphex Twin, Popstars winners Hear'say, and R&B groups such as Destiny's Child.
However, as in the 1980s, these proved unpopular with much of the paper's readership, and were soon dropped.
Later, Arctic Monkeys became the standard-bearers of the post-Libertines crop of indie bands, being both successfully championed by the NME and receiving widespread commercial and critical success.
In December 2005, accusations were made that the NME end-of-year poll had been edited for commercial and political reasons.
These criticisms were rebutted by McNicholas, who claimed that webzine Londonist.com had got hold of an early draft of the poll.
In October 2006, NME launched an Irish version of the magazine called NME Ireland.
This coincided with the launch of Club NME in Dublin.
Dublin-based band Humanzi was first to appear on the cover of NME Ireland.
The Irish edition of the magazine could not compete with local competitors such as Hot Press therefore it was discontinued after its fourth issue in February 2007.
After the 2008 NME Award nominations, Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian criticised the magazine's lack of diversity, saying:
In May 2008, the magazine received a redesign aimed at an older readership with a more authoritative tone.
The first issue of the redesign featured a free seven-inch Coldplay vinyl single.
Krissi Murison was appointed editor in June 2009, launching a new redesigned NME in April 2010.
The issue had 10 different covers, highlighting the broader range of music the magazine would cover, and featured Jack White, Florence and the Machine, LCD Soundsystem, Rihanna, Kasabian, Laura Marling, Foals, M.I.A. , Biffy Clyro and Magnetic Man.
Murison was replaced as editor in July 2012 by Mike Williams, who had previously been the magazine's deputy.
Williams is now Editor in Chief, with full responsibility for NME's cross platform output.
Under Williams, NME has launched the NME Daily app, a new career focussed event called Lifehacks, and successfully relaunched both NME magazine and NME's website, NME.com.
In 2013, NME's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time was criticized by the media.
Consequence of Sound similarly observed that "if Laura Snapes had her wish, the top four would all be The National albums".
In February 2015, it was reported that the NME was in discussions about removing the cover price and becoming a free publication.
This was confirmed in July 2015.
The free NME launched on 18 September 2015, with Rihanna on the cover.
Distributed nationwide via universities, retail stores and the transport network, the first circulation numbers published in February 2016 of 307, 217 copies per week were the highest in the brand's history.
Since relaunch the magazine has featured a number of high-profile international pop stars on the cover such as Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Kanye West and Green Day alongside emerging talent like Zara Larsson, Years & Years, Lady Leshurr and Christine and the Queens.
The free, pop-oriented NME magazine has been praised for reconnecting NME with its target audience, and was awarded a silver at the 2016 Professional Publishers Association Awards for its historic first-ever cover as a free title, featuring Rihanna.
Editor in Chief Mike Williams received the Editor Of The Year Award at the BSME Awards 2016, the judges stating that under Williams' leadership, NME had "bounced back from an uncertain future and established itself confidently and creatively in a new market."
In March 2018, the Guardian reported that the NME was to cease publication in print after 66 years.
The online publication would continue.
In 2019, TI Media, the successor to IPC, sold NME and Uncut to Singaporean company BandLab Technologies.
See also: List of NME covers
Main article: NME Awards
NME Awards is an awards show held every year to celebrate the best new music of the past year.
The nominations and eventual winners are voted for by the readers of the magazine.
Main article: NME Tours
NME sponsors a tour of the United Kingdom by up-and-coming bands each year.
In 2002, the NME started publishing a series of themed magazines reprinting vintage articles, interviews and reviews from its archives.
The series has had several editors, the most prominent of whom have been Steve Sutherland and Chris Hunt.
The most recent issue of NME Originals was published in 2005.
- List of NME covers
- NME Album of the Year
- NME Single of the Year
- NME Radio
- NME TV
- NME: The Cool List 2005
- NME's Cool List
- Melody Maker
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NME.