NME; Print vs Online

Kettle Mag, NME, Lauren Wise
Written by Lauren Wise

The rise of online journalism is further reducing its print counter-part’s sales as NME announced last Monday that the magazine will be going free in efforts to boost circulation.

Music fans will be waiting in anticipation for this September as 63 year-old company gives away the magazine for free for the first time.

The company has decided to focus on its online presence more extensively, due to an 80% circulation drop in ten years.

This announcement seems to be another step in the decline of print form in favour of online journalism.

Celebrity Culture

Some fans of the magazine blame the growing celebrity culture for forcing the company to this decision, as young adults are idolising celebs with a stronger online presence than the indie bands NME favours.

Digital Music

Most of us may remember the magazine fondly from our mid-teen rebellious stage, where it gave youngsters access to under the radar music with cheap gigs.

Today, the rise in use of music services such as Spotify and Apple Music may be to blame for teen’s disinterest in the print magazine, and for NME’s fall in circulation numbers.

It’s become much easier (and cheaper!) to listen to music online, than it is to buy a magazine, and the brand arguably no longer has the same meaning to teens as it once did.


So, what does all this mean for the future of the magazine?

The principal concern for the magazine’s audience is now its dependency on advertisement, both online and in print.

With web magazines making more from advertising, it seems that the changing face of journalism is becoming more dependent on material consumer goods rather than on readers’ demand for up-to-date, relevant news.

The question is not only how this will change the face of the magazine, but how this will change readers’ attitudes towards the brand, as the advertisement-driven, online-focused company evolves for the digital age. 

How will the magazine be received by readers once it goes free? Is the transition to online a clever move for the company before the magazine fails, or will the audience react badly to the advertisements the brand will be reliant on? Leave your comments below!