New Musical Express

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New Musical Express
description English-language music magazine
Area of ​​Expertise music
language English
publishing company IPC Media ( Time Inc. ) ( United Kingdom )
First edition March 7, 1952
attitude 2018
Frequency of publication weekly
Sold edition 23,924 copies
Widespread edition 300,000 copies
Editor-in-chief Mike Williams
Web link
ISSN (print)

New Musical Express , also known by the acronym NME , was a weekly music journalistic publication in Great Britain since March 1952 , which was founded by Theodore Smythson. Founded as a music newspaper, NME evolved into a magazine during the 1980s and turned away from newspaper printing in 1998 . In the issue of November 14, 1952 published NME the first British periodical Single - Charts . In the 1970s it became the best-selling music magazine. Between 1972 and 1976 NME was partly part of gonzo journalism (self-referential reporting); later she was closely connected to punk through Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill . The online version was launched in 1996 and is now the world's largest single music website with over 7 million monthly users.

Mike Williams was introduced as editor-in-chief on May 31, 2012 and took over from Krissi Murison on June 25, 2012. Luke Lewis is the editor-in-chief of On March 7, 2018 it was announced that the print edition will be discontinued with the publication of the edition on March 9, 2018. The website will be continued unchanged.


The first edition of the newspaper appeared on March 7, 1952, after the London music promoter Maurice Kinn bought the Accordion Times and Musical Express, published October 4, 1946, for £ 1,000 just 15 minutes before it closed. It was restarted as the New Musical Express . It originally appeared in tabloid format on newsprint . On November 14, 1952, the newspaper published a list of the twelve best-selling singles based on the American magazine Billboard . Unlike today's charts, the magazine itself recorded sales in stores across the UK. The first number 1 was Here in My Heart by Al Martino .


During the 1960s, the paper supported the British musical groups that were formed at the time. The circulation reached its peak in the period from January to June 1963 with a number of 306,881 copies under Andy Gray, editor-in-chief from 1957 to 1972. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones featured frequently on the front page. These and other artists also performed at the NME Poll Winners Concert , an event attended by musicians voted the magazine's most popular artists. The event also included an award ceremony. The NME Poll Winners Concerts took place from 1959 to 1972. The event was recorded from 1964 and shown on British television a few weeks later.

The second half of the 1960s was marked by the rise of psychedelic rock and the continued dominance of British bands. During this time, parts of pop music began to be viewed as rock. The newspaper was in constant rivalry with the weekly music magazine Melody Maker . However, NME was economically sound, with around 200,000 copies sold each week, making it one of the best-selling UK magazines of the time.


In the early 1970s, NME had lost ground to Melody Maker because the magazine had not kept pace with the development of rock music, particularly psychedelic rock and progressive rock . At the beginning of 1972 the magazine was about to be closed by the owner IPC Media, who had bought the magazine from Kinn in 1963. Nick Kent, who later played a vital role in the renewal of the leaf, said:

“After sales had plummeted to 60,000 and a review of guitar instrumentalist Duane Eddy had been printed which began with the immortal words 'On this, his 35th album, we find Duane in as good as voice as ever,' the NME had been told to rethink its policies or die on the vine. "

“After sales dropped to 60,000 and a record review of guitar instrumentalist Duane Eddy began with the immortal words 'On his 35th album we find Duane as good a voice as ever', NME was given the choice of where to go correct or finally fail. "

In addition to the irony of this criticism, Duane Eddy was voted the world's number one musician in the 1960s readers' rating, ahead of Elvis Presley for the first time .

The new editor-in-chief, Alan Smith, was given only a short time by IPC to change anything or the paper should be closed. As a result, the uncritical, venerable and show business oriented paper became a magazine that was more elegant, chic, cynical and humorous than any British music magazine before (an approach that was influenced by authors such as Tom Wolfe and Lester Bangs ). To accomplish this, Smith and deputy Nick Logan recruited the best underground magazine writers like Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, and hired other writers like Tony Tyler , Ian MacDonald, and Californian Danny Holloway . When Smith passed his position on to Logan in mid-1973, the magazine was selling nearly 300,000 copies each week, outpacing competitors like Melody Maker , Disc , Record Mirror and Sounds . MacDonald said:

“I think all the other papers knew by 1974 that NME had become the best music paper in Britain. We had most of the best writers and photographers, the best layouts, that sense of style of humor and a feeling of real adventure. We also set out to beat Melody Maker on its strong suit: being the serious, responsible journal of record. We did Looking Back and Consumer Guide features that beat the competition out of sight, and we did this not just to surpass our rivals but because we reckoned that rock had finished its first wind around 1969/70 and deserved to be treated as history, as a canon of work. We wanted to see where we'd got to, sort out this huge amount of stuff that had poured out since the mid '60s. Everyone on the paper was into this. "

“I think by 1974 all the other newspapers knew that NME had become the UK's best music magazine. We had the best writers and photographers, the best layout, a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. We were on our way to beating Melody Maker in its greatest strength: being a serious and responsible record journal. We had flashbacks and buying guides up to the limit, but we did this not just to beat the competition, but because we believed rock music had its first peak in 1969/70 and deserved to be treated as a story and a closed work . We wanted to see what we could do with all of the stuff that came up from the mid '60s. Everyone at the magazine was there. "

Led Zeppelin led the NME Pop Poll's Best Group with Vocal Category for three years from 1974 to 1976 . In 1976 punk reached what some observers saw as a stagnant music scene. Although NME helped the Sex Pistols get their first article in the music press with a live report of their appearance at the Marquee in February of that year, the paper was still in relation to Sounds and Melody Maker and their punk connoisseurs John Ingham and Caroline Coon too slow and cumbersome on this new phenomenon. Although articles by authors such as Mick Farren (whose article called "The Titanic Sails at Dawn" on a new street-ruled rock movement in response to stadium rock) were published by NME, it seemed like younger writers were needed in order to be able to represent the up-and-coming punk movement in a credible way, and the paper advertised a couple of “hip young gunslingers” to strengthen the editorial team. This led to the engagement of Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill. The two quickly became the heroes of the punk scene and gave the paper a new format. Parsons' time at NME was incorporated into his 2005 novel Stories We Could Tell , describing the misfortunes of three young music journalists on the night of August 16, 1977, the night Elvis Presley died.

In 1978 Logan left and his deputy Neil Spencer became editor-in-chief. One of his first jobs was overseeing the redesign of the magazine by Barney Bubbles; this also included the logo, which is still used today in a modified form - it first appeared at the end of 1978. During Spencer's time as editor-in-chief, post-punk bands such as Joy Division and Gang of Four also emerged . This development was reflected in the articles by Ian Penman and Paul Morley . Danny Baker, who was starting out as an editor at NME at the time, had a straightforward and populist style.

During the period of punk, the paper also opened up to political issues. The front page often reflected youth-oriented topics instead of musical topics. The editorial team took a political position against parties like the National Front . The election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 caused the paper to adopt a comprehensive socialist stance for almost the entire following decade .


In 1981 NME released the influential MC album C81 together with Rough Trade Records , which readers could purchase via mail order at a low price. The album featured a number of emerging artists such as Aztec Camera , Orange Juice , Linx and Scritti Politti , as well as established artists such as Robert Wyatt , Pere Ubu , Buzzcocks and Ian Dury . The second edition C86 appeared in 1986.

NME responded to the Thatcher era by partnering with socialist movements like Red Wedge . In the week of the general election in 1987 , the paper ran an interview with Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock , who was also featured on the front page. He was on the front page two years earlier in April 1985.

Authors of the time included Mat Snow, Barney Hoskyns, Paolo Hewitt, Danny Kelly, Chris Bohn (later known as Biba Kopf), Steven Wells, and David Quantick.

Even so, sales plummeted, and by the mid-1980s NME was once again on the verge of closure and threats to close. During this time with editor-in-chief Ian Pye, who had replaced Neil Spencer in 1985, the editorial team was split into the part that wanted to report on the relatively new genre of hip-hop and the part that wanted to stick to rock music. Sales were apparently worse when photos of hip-hop artists were on the front page, and the indecision of the paper became apparent to readers, causing a crisis for the NME. A number of non-musical subjects made the front pages of the period, including a report by William Leith on cybercrime and articles by Stuart Cosgrove on subjects such as the presence of U.S. troops in Britain with Elvis Presley on the front page, but not as a musician, but as a political symbol.

At that time, NME made a leaderless impression, the employees were moving in various directions at the same time, which was later referred to as the hip-hop war . Numerous readers migrated to Nick Logan's papers The Face and Smash Hits . The situation came to a head when the magazine published a poster of the insert of the Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist . It was a painting by HR Giger entitled Penis Landscape and was the subject of an obscenity lawsuit in the United States. In the summer and fall of 1987, a total of three senior editors were fired: Pye, media editor Stuart Cosgrove and artistic director Joe Ewart. Former Sounds editor-in-chief Alan Lewis was hired to save the paper a decade and a half earlier, following the example of Alan Smith.

Some commentators said NME's articles had lost intellect and were musically unimaginative. Initially, the NME's authors were uncomfortable with the new order, and many of them signed a letter to Alan Lewis expressing their dissatisfaction. Nonetheless, the new direction became a commercial success for NME and new editors including Andrew Collins, Stuart Maconie, Mary Anne Hobbs and Steve Lamacq were hired to give the paper a stronger identity and direction. In 1988, Mark Sinker left NME after refusing to post a negative review of U2's Rattle and Hum . Initially, the bands on the C86 album were supported as well as the emerging Gothic bands and new artists such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses from Manchester . One scene of those years was acid house , which had developed from the Madchester and gave the magazine a new raison d'être. By the end of the decade, Danny Kelly had replaced Editor-in-Chief Alan Lewis.


The NME sponsored the Other Stage at Glastonbury in 1993

In early 1990 NME was connected to the Madchester scene and published articles about new British indie bands and shoegazers . The Madchester scene died in late 1990, and NME began reporting on the new bands from the US, especially Seattle . These founded the grunge movement, the most famous bands were Nirvana and Pearl Jam . But NME struggled with grunge, while Sounds was the first British music newspaper to report on grunge and John Robb conducted the first Nirvana interview. Also, the Melody Maker was thrilled for him worked Everett True, who previously NME as The Legend had written. It wasn't until the success of Nevermind that the NME began to take an interest in grunge. Although the paper continued to support new British bands, it was dominated by American bands, as was the entire music market.

Although the emphasis was on American groups like Nirvana from 1991 to 1993, British bands were not ignored. As before, the NME reported on the independent scene and was involved in a dispute with the Manic Street Preachers , which accused the NME of an elitist view of the bands favored by the paper. This culminated in 1991, when Richey Edwards of his position in an interview with Steve Lamacq as a demonstration 4real scratched in the arm.

After the Madchester scene fell apart in 1992, new British bands such as The Manics appeared. Suede was quickly identified by the NME as an alternative to grunge and the start of a new British music scene. Grunge was still relevant, but the paper was increasingly focusing on these new British bands.

In 1992 there was a public argument between NME and one-time darling Morrissey over allegations that he used racist texts and statements. This came on after a Morrissey concert in Finsbury Park when he was wearing a Union Flag . The articles that then appeared in the next edition of the NME poisoned the relationship with the artist and led to the fact that he no longer spoke to NME for over ten years. When Morrissey spoke to the NME for the first time in 2003, he allegedly only did so because the editors responsible at the time had long since left the NME.

Later in 1992, Steve Sutherland, a former editor at Melody Maker , succeeded Danny Kelly. In protest, Andrew Collins, Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq, and Mary Anne Hobbs left the NME and went to Select Magazine ; Collins, Maconie and Lamacq later also wrote for Q , while Lamacq went to Melody Maker in 1997 . Kelly, Collins, Maconie, Lamacq and Hobbs later became presenters on BBC Radio 1 when the station was reorganized under Matthew Bannister.

When Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain was found dead in April 1994, it not only affected his fans and readers of the NME , but also brought about major changes in the British music scene. Grunge was replaced with Britpop , a style of music influenced by British music and culture in the 1960s. The term was coined by the NME after Blur released their album Parklife the same month that Cobain died. Britpop began to fill the void left by Cobain's death and the success of Manchester's Blur and Oasis dominated the remainder of the 1994 music year. By the end of the year, Blur and Oasis were the most successful bands in the UK, and sales of the NME rose through the Britpop effect.

1995 was all about these new bands, and many of them performed on the NME stage at Glastonbury Festival , which has been sponsored by the magazine since 1993 . It was the last year that the NME sponsored this stage, which was subsequently renamed the Other Stage . In August 1995, Blur and Oasis wanted to release a single with great media impact on the same day. Steve Sutherland turned it into a cover story. He was criticized for it because he would have fueled the duel between the two bands. Blur won the race for number 1 in the charts, the media hype helped the paper to increase sales and Britpop became the dominant music genre. After this peak there was a slow decline after Britpop self-destructed in the years that followed. Initially disoriented again, the paper tried at the end of the 1990s to the emerging DJ movement, which earned him the criticism of no longer wanting to support rock and independent. The paper tried to revive the political approaches of the 1980s and in March 1998 ran a cover story about Tony Blair .

Sutherland tried to cover newer bands, but a front page about Godspeed You! Black Emperor sold so badly in 1999 that Sutherland wrote in a later foreword that he regretted putting the band on the front cover. For many, this was a violation of the paper's principles, and sales hit another low at the turn of the millennium.


From the issue of March 21, 1998, the sheet was no longer printed on newsprint and switched to tabloid format with a colored glossy cover.

In 2000, Steve Sutherland was named brand director of NME , and his place as editor-in-chief was taken by 26-year-old Ben Knowles from Melody Maker . That same year, Melody Maker was phased out (it was officially merged with the NME), and many speculated that NME would be phased out next because the music magazine market shrank. In the same week as Melody Maker , Select Magazine , which had made a name for itself in Britpop , was also discontinued. In the early 2000s, the NME tried to expand its musical spectrum, bringing cover stories about hip-hop artists like Jay-Z and Missy Elliott , Aphex Twin , pop star winners Hear'Say and R&B groups like Destiny's Child , however, as in the 1980s, this was met with little approval from readers and was soon abandoned. In 2001, the NME maintained its influence on new music, supporting bands like The Strokes , The Vines and The White Stripes .

In 2002, Conor McNicholas became editor-in-chief with a number of new photographers such as Dean Chalkley, Andrew Kendall, James Looker and Pieter Van Hattem and numerous young authors. The paper focused on bands like The Libertines , Franz Ferdinand , Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs , who were indie bands on the cusp of commercial success. The Arctic Monkeys later spearheaded the new indie bands, garnering coverage on the NME, and achieving commercial success.

In December 2005, allegations were made that the NME had changed its annual ranking for commercial and political reasons. McNicholas rejected the criticism and stated that the webzine had an outdated version of the rating.

In October 2006 the first edition of the NME appeared in Ireland under the title NME Ireland , but was discontinued after four months due to poor sales. After being nominated for the 2008 NME Awards , Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian lamented the magazine's lack of musical diversity:

'NME bands' fall within very narrow parameters. In the 80s, the paper prided itself on its coverage of hip hop, R&B and the emerging dance scene which it took seriously and featured prominently - alongside the usual peel-endorsed indie fare. Now, though, its range of approved bands has dramatically shrunk to a strand embodied by the [Arctic] Monkeys, Babyshambles and Muse - bands who you don't need specialist knowledge to write about and who are just 'indie' enough to make readers feel they're part of a club.

“'NME Bands' only fit into very limited parameters. In the 1980s, the magazine praised itself for reporting on hip-hop, R&B, and the emerging dance scene, which took it seriously and featured prominently - alongside the usual Peel indie fare. But now the range of the bands has narrowed dramatically to something embodied by the [Arctic] Monkeys, Babyshambles and Muse - bands that you don't need to have a detailed knowledge of to write about and are still "indie" enough to make readers feel like they're part of a club. "

In May 2008, the magazine was redesigned again and adapted to the new target group of an older readership with a less poppy and more serious presentation. The first issue in this design featured a 7 "single from Coldplay . The magazine's circulation has been falling steadily since 2003. In the second half of 2011, the print run was 23,924, two thirds less than the 2003 print run of 72,442. After a further continuous decrease in the circulation to around 15,000 copies, the magazine announced in July 2015 that it would switch to a free print version. Around 300,000 copies have been distributed every week since mid-September 2015, and were then available in train stations, universities and shops.

further activities

NME tent, Reading and Leeds Festivals (2005)

NME Awards

The NME Awards are held every year to recognize the best artists of the past year. The nominees and the winners are selected by the readers of the magazine.

NME Tours

NME sponsors an annual tour of the UK featuring bands on the verge of breakthrough.

NME Originals

Since 2002, the NME has published various themed magazines with reprints of articles, interviews and reviews. These special editions are called NME Originals and also contain material from other IPC publications such as Melody Maker , Rave and Uncut . Previous editions have been on topics such as Radiohead , The Beatles , Punk , Gothic Rock , Britpop , The Rolling Stones , Mod , Nirvana and the solo careers of the Beatles musicians. The last edition of the series was published in 2005.

NME India

In March 2012, IPC Media announced the launch of an NME spin-off in India . The Indian website NME.IN was launched in March 2012.

Web links

Commons : NME (magazine)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b John Reynolds: Magazine ABCs: NME and Q suffer major circulation falls. In: MediaWeek. August 16, 2012, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  2. Mark Sweeney: NME deputy editor Mike Williams steps up to edit IPC's weekly music title. In: The Guardian. May 31, 2012, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  3. ^ Luke Lewis appointed editor of (No longer available online.) In: Press Gazette. March 7, 2011, archived from the original on October 8, 2012 ; accessed on March 3, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. NME ends its weekly print edition. In: BBC News. March 7, 2018, accessed March 7, 2018 .
  5. 60 Years of the Charts: Charting the Charts. ( Broadcast ) In: BBC Radio 2 . January 1, 2013, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  6. ^ Pat Long: The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine . Portico Books, London 2012, ISBN 978-1-907554-48-3 , pp. 23, 29 .
  7. Nick Kent: The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music . Da Capo Press, 2002, ISBN 0-306-81182-0 , p. XVI .
  8. ^ Paul Gorman: In Their Own Write: Adventures in the Music Press . Sanctuary, 2001, ISBN 1-86074-341-2 , pp. 189 .
  9. ^ Pop Poll Results 1952–1996. In: Retrieved March 3, 2013 .
  10. NME of August 22, 1992. In: Retrieved March 3, 2013 .
  11. Highlights from the Britpop year. BBC News, August 15, 2005, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  12. Andrew Dickson: NME defends album of year poll. In: The Guardian. December 2, 2005, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  13. ^ NME Ireland Lasts Just Four Months. (No longer available online.) In: Press Gazette. February 2, 2007, archived from the original on October 1, 2012 ; accessed on March 3, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Caroline Sullivan: Arts blog - music: Where are the women? In: The Guardian. January 30, 2008, accessed March 3, 2013 .
  15. ^ Arif Durrani: NME to become a free magazine after 63 years. In: MediaWeek. July 6, 2015, accessed July 7, 2015 .
  16. a b NME Launches In India. In: IPC Media. March 8, 2012, accessed March 3, 2013 .