NME to go free

By James Cridland for
Posted 6 July 2015, 1.49pm bst

surprise truck

The music magazine NME has announced that it will go free from September. The title plans to give away more than 300,000 copies nationally through stations, universities and retail partners.

The title, which is owned by Time Inc, has suffered a long-term battle for sales. In February, The Guardian reported that the print circulation for the magazine was 13,995, dropping by 23% year-on-year. The same figures reported 1,389 digital subscribers. In its heyday, the title sold over 300,000 copies.

The magazine promises a new-look website and new digital products to go alongside the change to free.

Writing on, editor Mike Williams said:

The cat is out of the bag, and I couldn’t be more excited. For the past few months we’ve been working in secret here at NME on the next phase of our evolution. The goal, throughout all of our research and development, has been to find new and inventive ways to connect with you, our audience, better than ever. In the 63 years since NME launched we have evolved and transformed plenty of times. The evolution of 2015 is our boldest ever move, and I’m delighted to be able to share the news with you at last.

The magazine was launched in 1952 as New Musical Express. launched in 1996.

NME has run three failed attempts at a radio station: the first, an online station in collaboration with Virgin Radio in 2001, and then a station run by XFM creator Sammy Jacob from June 2008 until June 2010. From September 2010 Town and Country Broadcasting ran NME Radio, until programming ceased in 2013.

More information

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James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.