New Musical Express

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The New Musical Express (or NME) is a weekly periodical about popular music published in the United Kingdom. First printed in a tabloid newspaper format, in 1952 the Musical Express was purchased by London music promoter Maurice Kinn, and relaunched as the New Musical Express. Later in 1952, taking its cue from the US Billboard magazine, it created the UK Singles Chart, the first of which was a Top Twelve.

The NME evolved alongside the emerging rock and roll music scene and was for many years the rival to the older and more musically conservative Melody Maker publication. While its initial focus was on mainstream pop acts, the rise of psychedelia and heavier rock bands in the late 1960s resulted in an emphasis on guitar-based music and indie rock bands, which has continued to this day. Suffering a sales slump by the mid-1970s, the arrival of new wave music towards the late 1970s resulted in the NME cashing in by hiring young writers, reverting the magazine's declining fortune. Circulation eventually peaked to 320,000 copies a week. The sometimes acerbic and scathing reviews of established artists earned it the nickname 'The Enemy'. Around this time it changed its masthead to be read simply as 'NME', with the longer title less prominently displayed within the letters themselves. On 21 March 1998, NME switched to a glossy magazine-style tabloid format.

Upon the demise of Melody Maker in 2001, several of its writers and features relocated to the NME. Since 2002, rivals such as Q, Mojo, Uncut, and Classic Rock magazines had made inroads into the traditional NME readership, and by the first half of 2009 its popularity had declined with audited circulation dropping to 48,500 copies.[1] In the first half of 2013, circulation had dropped to 20,011 copies.[2]


  1. The party’s over and magazines suffer a circulation hangover (February 2009). Retrieved on 2009-04-20.
  2. Turvill, William. Mag ABCs: All music magazines see circulation losses, Press Gazette, Progressive Media International, 15 August 2013. Retrieved on 9 April 2014.