NME announces major brand transformation including free magazine

Changes include digital innovation and a new approach to content

NME has today announced a major brand transformation.

As well as a new look NME.COM and new digital products, in September the famous NME weekly magazine will go free, with more than 300k copies distributed nationally through stations, universities and retail partners.

A statement to the media confirmed that music is “firmly at the heart of the brand” but there will also be “film, fashion, television, politics, gaming and technology”.

The statement goes on to say that “NME will dramatically increase its content output and range, with new original as well as curated content appearing across all platforms, including print. Other highlights will include an expansion in live events, more video franchises and greater engagement with users on new social platforms”.

Writing on NME.com, Editor Mike Williams said: “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. In the 63 years since NME launched we have evolved and transformed plenty of times. The evolution of 2015 is our boldest ever move, and I’m delighted to be able to share the news with you at last.”

NME Editor Mike Williams

Launched in 1952 as the New Musical Express, NME magazine has provided weekly music news, reviews and features for more than six decades.

NME.com launched in 1996 and was one of the world’s first music news websites. Now, through NME’s digital platforms, social media channels and weekly magazine the brand reaches 3.9 million people every week.

This year, NME cover stars have included Florence Welch, Wolf Alice, Muse, Kanye West and The Libertines.

The NME Awards Tour 2015 with Austin, Texas saw The Wytches, Slaves, Fat White Family and Palma Violets head out on the road together, and February’s NME Awards 2015 with Austin, Texas saw artists including Kasabian, Jimmy Page, Pulp, Royal Blood, Foo Fighters and Iggy Azalea awarded for recent endeavours at an all-star ceremony at O2 Academy Brixton.

Suede – who originally formed via an advert in NME’s classifieds – were named the year’s Godlike Geniuses.