Publisher of music magazine consulting about redundancies, while title will continue online.
The NME is to cease publication in print after 66 years, the weekly music title joining a growing list of once mighty magazine brands that now only exist online.
The NME.com website will continue, replacing the print edition’s cover star interview with a new weekly digital franchise, the Big Read.
The NME will continue to keep a sporadic presence in print with special issues such as its paid-for series NME Gold, to cater for music stars’ appetite for appearing in a printed product.
In 2015, the magazine stopped being a paid title after a decade of sales declines saw its circulation drop to just 15,000. It relaunched as an ad-funded, free title with a circulation of 300,000 in a last throw of the strategic dice for the print edition.
“Our move to free print has helped propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com,” said Paul Cheal, the UK group managing director, music, at NME publisher Time Inc UK. “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.”
Time is consulting with the NME’s 23 editorial and commercial staff about possible redundancies.
NME, which has been printed weekly since 1952, managed to make money as a brand overall through spin-off activities such as awards and events.
The first front cover of the magazine featured the Goons, Big Bill Broonzy and Ted Heath and cost sixpence. When the magazine went free in 2015 the cover price had risen to £2.60.