The physical NME magazine is being closed after 66 years in existence.
The news was announced this morning by NME owner Time Inc, which confirmed in a statement: “NME’s free weekly print magazine will cease publication. This week’s issue of the magazine out on Friday will be the final free print edition.”
Paul Cheal, Time Inc. UK group managing director, Music, said: “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 free NME launched on 18 September 2015, with Rihanna on its cover, and has been handed out to commuters and students across the UK on a weekly basis since.
The publication was originally established as the New Musical Express in 1952.
“Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable.”
Paul Cheal, Time Inc
Meanwhile, Time Inc. says it is launching new digital services to complement its NME.com website.
These include NME Audio, which will comprise of two new music channels – NME 1 and NME 2 – on Regional DAB, the TuneIn App and on NME.COM.
NME 1 will champion new talent on NME’s radar and NME 2 will feature a range of artists and ‘NME classics’.
NME will continue to publish special issues in print, such as its new paid-for series NME Gold.
Keith Walker, digital director of NME, said: “NME has been at the digital forefront for more than two decades. Our global digital audience has almost doubled over the past two years.
“With these new developments, we are giving consumers even more of what they want from us. 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.”
Long-time NME Editor Mike Williams announced his departure from the brand at the end of February.Music Business Worldwide