It was announced on Tuesday 6th March that publication of News Music Events (NME) would be stopping after 66 years. It will live on though as an online music site instead. To many this has not been a bolt out of the blue, back in 2015 NME was re-formed as a free-sheet publication and the end was already in sight.
Through the years of publishing the NME was the home of UK independent music news and reviews. My own experiences with the publication came in 2013 properly when I bought an issue due to an exclusive interview with the musician and singer/songwriter Florence Welsh. I purchased it from the W H Smith’s on the top of Halesowen’s high street and briefly flicked through the article as I walked home. When I had finished the article all together I skimmed through the rest of the magazine. It was so interesting. All these bands I had never heard of and all of the interviews and reviews, honest and opinionated about the music.
I learnt of a lot of new and upcoming bands from NME. It helped cultivate my music taste and gave me a sort of education in how the music press seemed to function. However the decline of the publication makes perfect sense when you note that it no longer spoke to the people it was trying to talk to. It was trying to communicate with 18-year-olds but in a tone only really understood by 48-year-olds. There was nothing captivating in the style or type of writing (especially after the launch of the free-sheet).
Music reporting, at least in the case of NME, is supposed to reflect the lives of young people. It was always a publication aimed at how young people lived and interacted with music. In recent years though, that has all changed. Students and young people are discovering new music in more ways to count due to various social media platforms and artists can now have a more ‘personal role’ in their fans lives. Music reporting has shifted from telling people about the latest releases to simply giving an opinion on them (which is never a bad thing). There is a decline in young people going out to gigs (lets face it they are expensive and unless they are on your doorstep travelling can be a nightmare), instead watching boxsets in box rooms. In turn this is not helped by the rapid closing of pubs that play live music and local music venues to actually bring people in.
The real question to be answered is, does the demise of NME as a print publication matter? For anything other than nostalgia purposes I would argue, no. It seems to be a rather solemn reflection on how, through his publication, neither musicians nor the music press itself have managed to say anything particularly note-worthy or memorable in recent years. Gone are the days of cocky, self-assured and precocious music journalists who are not afraid of telling their truth, and that is the real reason behind the publications failings.
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