Many people have criticised the popularity, and more importantly, the stability of print magazines in recent years, with the development of iPads and digital content quickly taking over. Is there any real need for print anymore? Will making that content available online as well as in print form deem it completely pointless? NME are the latest publication to feel the pinch, turning themselves into a completely free music magazine – But will this prove the point that print can only exist if readers don’t have to part with any cash? Or will it give it that burst of interest it so desperately needs and rekindle our love of the long-standing mag?
NME has been considered a renowned music magazine for years, covering artists at all levels of fame, from upcoming acts to mainstream chart-toppers, with Rihanna appearing as the first cover star of their first free issue, released on the 18th September. But many have complained online, as everyone does these days, slating the publication for its lack of coverage on fresh new talent, instead taking the ‘easy way out’ and filling its pages with mainstream artists and using cover stars such as Taylor Swift, Robert Pattinson (er, what?) and Chris Moyles (have the NME gone mad?).
While their now-free version will be available in cities and towns across the UK (click to find out if you can get it near you), is the matter of money costing the NME its content? Many readers have taken to social media to express their disinterest in the NME’s new style, with avid readers even deciding that picking up a free copy isn’t worth their while. Which makes us wonder, can the NME even give it away? It would seem even adding comedy Katherine Ryan to their bill as a brand new columnist isn’t going to save them, despite her personal touch to each weekly issue.
The NME may have given in to the decline of their circulation figures and gone free, but will their readers of many generations brought up in the 70s, 80s and 90s appreciate the change? No, it seems. While their gig listings have gone online and onto apps, NME seems to no longer be the first port of call for music information and news. Not when at the click of a button Google can tell you everything you need to know. Oh, and you know Siri? Siri knows everything, and he’s always in your pocket.
While the NME is currently still holding a place in the music and magazine industry in 2015, albeit a small place, how long for we wonder…