How NME, Britain's once-great indie music paper, failed and died

Originally published at:

1 Like

The print version became a free publication in 2015 and was still being published up until last week. It was pretty lightweight though and could be read in 10-15 minutes. Now they’re focussed on the online version, so I wouldn’t say “NME” as a whole is dead.

1 Like

It was close to death since the Smiths broke up and has been limping along since, the kindest thing would have been a bolt in the forehead.

I started reading it a few years after the Smiths broke up, and as someone that was completely in its target demographic (snottier than thou teenager with mild anglophilia and a genuine love of music), it was fantastic. I think in the 90s it was still something that coincidentally seemed to turn to shit once you pass some arbitrary age, more than actually being terrible or different to it previous self.

That said, the past few years have been absolute garbage and have seemingly focused only on having pull quotes from one or both Gallagher brothers on the front page at all times. Its turn from a paper that would coin scenes for the sake of driving popular culture/selling papers, to something that just reported on other peoples trends and shit from 20 years ago has been pretty sad to watch.

How it died? As it lived, with a picture of Oasis on the cover.

1 Like

I was always a Sounds reader rather than the NME - back in the late 70s and early 80s when these things mattered and defined us. Even then I thought that the NME was a little too precious of a boys club. Sounds had much better coverage of Reggae, Ska, and World music (although, in fairness, they did also embrace the Oi movement at the same time).

I assume Sounds and Melody Maker folded years ago and I was surprised that the NME lasted as long as it did.

1 Like

According to Wikipedia, Melody Maker was eaten by NME 18 years ago, while the last issue of Sounds came out in 1991.

I never went out of my way to read any of them to be honest, during the 90s I was reading Eternity (the music magazine which doesn’t have a wikipedia page for some reason, it also had regular articles on drugs by Alexander Shulgin.), M8 and DJ magazine. I didn’t like Mixmag, I found it too pretentious and it’s editor during the mid 90s hated the hardcore rave scene. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I was secure enough to publicly admit I liked anything with guitars in it.


I started to read it in the mid-70s when it was weekly and used newsprint. I’d hazard an opinion that for others of a similar age it did in fact die when it moved to glossy/magazine stock, not that many of us were reading it still by then, in all likelihood.

1 Like

Sounds was also the first to embrace the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and spawned thousands of identikit sleeveless denim jackets with Iron Maiden, Moorhead, Saxon patches and the deluded Judas Priest outsider.

In the traditional way my mother threw out all my copies of Sounds when I went to college.

1 Like

Yup. Sounds was always better.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.