Friday, February 14, 2014

Circulation figures for NME stuck on repeat

As I type this, Today on Radio 4 are effectively using the latest NME sales figures as a chance to have run a eulogy.

And the figures are grim - down below 20,000 for the first time; it's a point where received wisdom in publishing suggest there's no hope for a title.

I suspect this won't come as a surprise to the title - the last few weeks had seen a return to the front page of John Lennon, and nothing says panic like slapping The Beatles on the cover.

It's a pity, though, as particularly since the last relaunch the magazine has been better than its been for years - intelligent features, often about surprising subjects, sparky writing. There's still a tendency to do long, pointless lists (how do determine with single X is the 435th or 436th best single ever?) and the covers don't always reflect how much thought is going into the magazine these days.

And maybe that's the trouble - there's a treble problem; having spent so long doing little more than applaud every bon mot of the Gallaghers, there's an alienated audience who might be impossible to win back; the new readers who might have replaced the natural wastage a music title experiences as fans move on need persuading to buy a print publication at all; and the Ozzy Osbourne splashes aren't really helping convince browsers that this is still a magazine that has its ear near the beating heart of music.

With the parent company going through a painful period of restructuring, and such a long history of decline to turn around, the brittle truth is that it might now be too late for simply being better to salvage a print edition.


2 comments:

Hutcho said...

I'm no expert but given that nowadays nobody really needs the NME for news (which they can get from the NME website anyway) or indeed anything that's particularly time sensitive, is there something to be said for making it a monthly? That way there would be more space and time for the 'intelligent features' and 'sparky writing' ...or are the NME's target audience now just too web-involved to care about a printed publication full stop I wonder?

simon hayes budgen said...

The most recent relaunch more-or-less dumped the news section as a traditional news section altogether, and has instead been doing some longer-form, more journalistic pieces around, for example, Pussy Riot or the threat to the Night And Day.

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