Legendary UK music magazine NME ends print edition

Time Inc. gets new owners
Time Inc. gets new owners

The groundbreaking British music magazine New Musical Express is ending its print edition after 66 years.

NME, as the magazine is known, will still live online. But the publication's owners, Time Inc. UK, said the tough advertising market and rising production costs meant print had to go.

Friday's edition will be the final magazine handed out to readers, though special print editions will be published in the future, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The print edition became a free weekly magazine in 2015, when the website was also relaunched.

"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," Paul Cheal, Time Inc. UK group managing director said in the statement.

"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," he added.

Related: A year of monumental change in the media

Generations of music fans grew up with NME, dubbed "the world's most famous music magazine" by former assistant editor Pat Long in the title of his 2012 history of the publication.

Recalling its golden age in the 1970s, when staff would celebrate going to press with "a bottle of chilled champagne and a joint the size of a small canoe," Long said NME changed Britain's "cultural DNA for ever" by chronicling the nation's love affair with rock music and the genres that followed.

"The first ever Led Zeppelin gig. Hendrix setting fire to his guitar on stage at the Finsbury Park Astoria. Excitable early interviews with The Rolling Stones or Blur. The Smiths splitting ... A treasure trove of myth and memory," he wrote about its print archives.

new musical express cover

NME will now invest further in its digital operations, including launching new audio music channels and "enhancements to its ticketing service and membership offering."

"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," said Keith Walker, digital director of NME.

The announcement comes just one week after Time Inc. UK was bought by private equity company Epiris.


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