The New Musical Express (better known as the NME) is an Indie and pop music magazine in the United Kingdom. It has been published every week since March 1952. It was the first British magazine to include a singles chart.
During the 1960s, the magazine championed the new British groups emerging at the time. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were frequently on the front cover a lot. These and other artists would also appeared at the NME Poll Winners Concert, an awards event that featured artists voted as most popular by the NME's readers. The concert also featured an awards ceremony where the poll winners would collect their awards.
The later part of the 1960s, the magazine began to report about psychedelia as well as the continuation of articles about British groups of the time.
In early 1972, with the magazine on the verge of closure by its owners, But a new person became editor and the paper's coverage changed radically from an uncritical to something intended to be smarter, hipper, more cynical and funnier than any mainstream British music paper had previously been (an approach influenced mainly by writers).
In mid-1973, the paper was selling nearly 300,000 copies per week and was outselling its other weekly rivals, Disc, Record Mirror and Sounds.
The year 1976 saw Punk Rock arrive on the music scene and NME, like other "specialist" publications, was slow in reporting and covering this new music phenomenon. In an attempt to boost sales, the paper advertised for a pair of "hip young gunslingers" to join their editorial staff. This resulted in the recruitment of two journalists who made sure the magazine was completely up to date on this new music style. Bands who a few months previously had been criticising the NME were now eager to be included.
The magazine also became more openly political during the time of Punk. Its cover would sometimes feature youth-oriented issues rather than a musical act.
Sales were dropping, and by 1985 NME had hit a rough patch and was in danger of closing again. During this period, the editors at the magazine were split between those who wanted to write about hip hop, a genre that was relatively new to the UK, and those who wanted to stick to rock music. Sales were apparently lower when photos of hip hop artists appeared on the front and this led to the paper suffering as the lack of direction became even more apparent to readers.
The late eighties and early nineties had a generally weak rock scene in the UK and the paper was forced into giving a high profile to long forgotten bands like Kingmaker and the Railway Children.
By the end of 1990, although the magazine still supported new British bands, the paper was dominated by American bands, because that was what the music scene in general was about.
Although the period from 1991 to 1993 was dominated by American bands like Nirvana, this did not mean that British bands were being ignored. The NME still covered the Indie scene a lot.
By 1992, some new British bands were beginning to appear. Suede were quickly hailed by the paper as an alternative to the heavy Grunge sound and hailed as the start of a new British music scene. Indie however was still the dominant force, but the rise of new British bands would become something the paper would focus more and more upon.
In April 1994 Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead, a story which affected not only his fans and readers of the NME, but would see a massive change in British music. Grunge was about to be replaced by Britpop , a new form of music influenced by British music of the 1960s and British culture. The phrase was coined by NME after the band Blur released their album Parklife in the same month of Cobain's death. Britpop began to fill the musical and cultural void left after Cobain's death, and Blur's success, along with the rise of a new group from Manchester called Oasis saw Britpop gather popularity for the rest of 1994. By the end of the year Blur and Oasis were the two biggest bands in the UK and sales of the NME were increasing thanks to the Britpop effect. 1995 saw the NME cover many of these new bands and saw many of these bands play the NME Stage at that years Glastonbury Festival where the magazine had been sponsoring the second stage at the festival since 1993.
The new millennium saw the NME focus on new British bands such as Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs who emerged as "indie music" continued to grow in commercial success. This commercial success has led to bands such as the Arctic Monkeys being both successful in the extreme and being championed by the NME; a phenomenon not seen since Britpop.
In December 2005 accusations were made that the NME end of year poll had been edited for commercial and political reasons. These criticisms were rebutted by McNicholas, who claimed that webzine Londonist.com had got hold of an early draft of the poll.
In 2006 NME won the CocaCola best magazine this century award.
Its first editor was Brendan Fitzgerald. Later Anthony Thornton redesigned the site, focusing on music news. The website was awarded Online Magazine Of The Year in 1999 and 2001 and Anthony Thornton was announced as Website Editor Of The Year on three occasions.
It was awarded 'Best Music Website' at the Record Of The Day awards in October 2005. In 2006 NME.COM celebrated with a party at London's KOKO featuring Leicester band Kasabian and was subsequently awarded the BT Digital Music Award for Best Music Magazine and the first 'Chairman's Award' from the Association of Online Publishers awarded by the Chairman, Simon Waldman.
The site now provides news, reviews, gig listings, and videos as well as featuring downloads, merchandising and message boards.
The website over the last year has shifted it focus to also include tabloid gossip alongside its traditional music news. With regular news articles entitled "Daily Ligger" and "Tabloid Hell."
In 2007 NME.com had a free download from the Verve, and it was the first songs the Verve released since they got back together.
Images for kids
Cover featuring Patti Smith for the week of 21 February 1976
New Musical Express Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.