The 63-year-old New Musical Express will become a free magazine as of September this year.
In its “boldest ever move”, to improve its ever dwindling circulation, the NME has decided to go free with more than 300,000 copies to be distributed around the country.
The decision, which editor Mike Williams “couldn’t be more excited” about, comes in response to the NME’s falling circulation figures, which reached a low of 13,995 in its print format in the second half of 2014.
The company, owned by Time Inc UK, will also undergo a rebranding in an attempt to “find new and inventive ways to connect with you, our audience, better than ever”.
The full statement from editor Mike Williams can be viewed below:
“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.
By talking to you and working closely with you as we developed new ideas, it was clear that what you wanted was brilliant content that you could enjoy and share quickly and conveniently. You wanted your voice to be heard and a platform to share opinions. You wanted NME’s unique access and opinions at your fingertips no matter where you were.
So what we’re giving to you is a major brand transformation that will deliver on all of these things. A brilliant new free weekly magazine that will reach more than 300,000 people each week, a new look NME.com that will bring you closer to the stories that you care most about, some shiny new digital products which I’ll be able to tell you more about very soon, plus more live events, new video series and more interaction with you guys on new social platforms.
The new free magazine launches on September 18 in the UK. As I type this, some of the NME team are locked away in a dark basement in NME Towers working on even more ideas to make sure it’s not only a brilliant magazine, but that it gives you everything you asked us for. I’m confident that it will.
Music has got the power to unite people like nothing else can. It’s there for you when you’re down, it inspires you when you want to get up, it brings you together with your friends and it speaks to you on a level that nothing else can. It’s the soundtrack to your life, basically.
Music is and will continue to be the heartbeat of NME. What’s exciting is that we’ll use our shared love of music to open up a wider world of culture and entertainment, taking in film, fashion, television, politics, gaming, technology and whatever else you want to talk about.
NME first launched in 1952. In the 63 years since we have evolved and transformed plenty of times, ensuring that we keep on growing and that we keep setting the agenda. The evolution of 2015 is our boldest ever move, and I’m delighted to be able to share the news with you at last.”