The media world is changing rapidly and news that the New Musical Express is to publish it’s final print edition tomorrow is more nostalgic than surprising.
The occasional brutality of change was seen quickly and in all it’s simplicity with the first line of its entry on Wikipedia which now reads “New Musical Express (NME) was a British music journalism magazine published from 1952 until 2018.”
That’s a long line of history covering everything from Bill Haley to Beyoncé, Punk Rock to Pink and all points on the way.
By 2015 its print circulation had dwindled to 15,000. This prompted a radical switch to an advertising-funded free publication which saw numbers soar to 300,000 but without the right financial heft to keep it going.
Perhaps that itself was a play to get the brand more active so that the online element would grow stronger.
If so it has worked with nme.com continuing online. The fact that the announcement was made by the owners of the title Time, would have been impossible to imagine in the somewhat rakish past where journalists were reporting the inside of the hedonistic rock and roll world from less of a front row seat and more being at the centre of whatever mischief was afoot.
It was selling over 300,000 copies in the sixties as The Beatles and Rolling Stones created a voracious appetite for news and gossip. In the seventies, it was true to its anti-establishment credentials as the champion of Punk and in the 90’s it was the main driver of the Britpop battle between Blur and Oasis producing one of its most famous covers.
Entertainment for Business will be on the ground next week reporting on the Irish presence at SXSW, South by South West, one of the biggest entertainment industry events in the world.