What Do People Think Of The New NME?

PocketOperator

Active Member
WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST!!

I don't know if anyone reads the NME magazine but it's just gone free and is no longer available in shops (well a select few, thinly distributed around the country) but instead is given out at train stations and some independent record shops and basically places where students frequent. You can get a free copy to download on the iPad or if you subscribe to NME, you get the paper version for the price of P&P.

Anyway, I am a long time reader of the magazine since the mid-90's and have seen it's various re-launches since then and even in the past year when they shrunk the size of it down from the broadsheet-style newspaper size to a much smaller (physically rather than in terms of pages) magazine.

I didn't read it cover to cover but I did read a lot of the stuff in the Radar pages and on bands I was interested in and I especially liked the album reviews pages (even if I didn't always agree with the actual reviews) because it showcased a lot of alternative genres and artists that I wouldn't have heard about were it not for the NME.

In the new free edition they have Rihanna on the cover and a big article/interview with her and another big article inside about The Big Bang Theory (TV show, not the actual big bang theory). The cover states they are focussing on "Music, Film and Style" and I have read elsewhere on NME's own site that they seem to want to encompass other media more and more.

One of the main things I noticed was a difference in advertisers in the magazine now, there are the usual adverts aimed at their target audience for products by L'Oreal, Samsung smartphones and Topman (no Topshop, sorry ladies) but interestingly there is an advert for DFS, a couple of car manufacturers and a couple of eBay adverts.

This might not seem like much but it just felt to me like NME are starting to cater for a much more mainstream audience and the overall feel of the magazine is less alternative/indie and more pop/hipster. There is a new section called Agenda where they interview a few people from a different city each week and ask them what they are listening to, what they are wearing (really NME??) and the best thing about their city. They also show the occupation of each person and in the results of this are also very interesting to see NME's new target audience as being interviewed are: an artist, a designer, a shop manager and a freelance PR. Now as I engage "judgemental" mode, the accompanying photo of each person doesn't look like the regular NME reader of old, they are also older too, ranging from 27-35.

It seems to me that NME are trying to attract an older crowd (despite making the free paper mag available close to where universities are) and certainly a more mainstream reader, someone who likes lots of popular things but perhaps is too cool to go the full X-Factor (see previous hipster comment) and people who have more disposable income.

They have a new TV and Games section where they recommend Dr Who but also This Is England '90 and recommend playing Super Mario Maker (not at all because that's the current flavour of the month).

I dunno, the whole mag just feels like it's trying to serve two audiences by still featuring the bands you'd expect to read about in NME whilst also showing more chart/pop-orientated stuff (although they always have I suppose) and also having lots of features that just feel like they are edging towards the more mainstream/popular.

The magazine feels a little smaller in overall content too, both the Radar and Reviews sections seemed smaller and encouraged the reader to read more online. I personally don't really like the NME website as it feels very cluttered and is chock-full of annoying Flash and HTML 5-based adverts that either pop-up in your face or just make the whole site take an age to load something, or triggers those terrible videos adverts where you can hear the audio but can't find the bloody video itself to turn it off.

I think over the coming weeks and months it will be interesting to see if they start featuring more big-name advertisers and increase the amount of mainstream content. Currently it has a faint whiff of Smash Hits to it for me and I think seeing as it's gone free they will have to encourage more advertising to fund it and advertisers prefer as wide and as mainstream an audience as possible.

What does everyone else think, does anyone care? Just thought I'd post my thoughts as NME is quite a well-known name in music and this new iteration could spell the end of the magazine as we knew it.
 

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