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 Post subject: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:49 pm 
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is now under 15000 per week. They've put a positive spin on it, claiming their website is busy but it can't be far off being online only.

(yes I know this news was released last week but I was offline for a while)

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:16 am 
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It's funny and ironic that if you walk around any British city these days, people look more 'indie' than ever. Topshop/Topman make the same clothes that NME bands wear, everyone wears converse sneakers and skinny jeans everywhere you look - you could be forgiven for imagining that NME had become more culturally relevant and popular than ever before!

I personally pin-point the tail end of Conor McNicholas' time as editor as the beginning of NME really trying to push/create it's own stars, rather than heralding the indie stars that the public were rightly or wrongly worshipping. The stars that NME has tried to create/push have been, from a headline/cover story point of view, very boring. And from a pop culture point of view, utterly irrelevant.

Most NME cover stars are old bands flogging reissues, because none of the bands they push are interesting or contentious enough to sell magazines.

Just checking their site and this year, thus far, has seen - Oasis, Manics, Damon Albarn, Primal Scream, The Smiths (twice), John Lennon, Paul Mccartney, Kurt Cobain (twice), Stone Roses, Pulp, Led Zep, Libertines (twice). That's so lame.

Hell, Manic Street Preachers have had NME's cover twice since this July! :lol:

That's why no-one's buying it. You wanna sell mags en masse you need scandal, contentious opinions, characters that polarise opinion and invoke adoration or anger.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:35 am 
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He Who Hears Horses wrote:
[ ] That's why no-one's buying it. You wanna sell mags en masse you need scandal, contentious opinions, characters that polarise opinion and invoke adoration or anger.


I don't think this is true any more. What's NME's core demographic? 16-24 year olds isn't it? This current generation of that age group are the best-behaved, cleanest, politest, most conservative group of youths there's ever been. And look at the bands they all like. Clean, posh, inoffensive and safe. All of them talking about themselves/their broken hearts etc. rather than social situations/politics. You can't sell rebellion and ire to these people because they don't believe in it any more. Or, rather, not enough of them believe in it to prop up an ailing music weekly.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:43 am 
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I checked out the circulation of magazines last year to see how they compared to hits The Sound Of Confusion was getting (just over 100,000 a month) and I think every magazine had dropped.

The highest figures in the UK were for Mojo which was around 84,000 a month. NME was on 18,000 a week then.

Living in a remote place, our newsagents doesn't stock many magazines, you generally have to order them in which means you need to buy them every week. They get in stuff like OK and Radio Times that have huge circulations, but music magazines they'd only get a couple per issue and only in the summer. So I had Uncut and NME ordered weekly from them for years (despite the fact that I wasn't even that keen on them), but what ended up happening was that by the time they went to press any news and reviews were online anyway. Sites like Pitchfork and so on are taking the share of the audience. NME's website is really poor by comparison and half the articles don't work properly. I think it's just a slide in print sales for the music press all round. If a tiny blog like mine can get over 100,000 hits a month then just think what sites you've actually heard of must be getting.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:17 am 
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Are we still talking about the NME?

It's an anachronism. It doesn't cover what people want and what the people want is even safer and duller than what they have been covering. The music press as an actual printed medium is finished. Give it 5-10 years it'll be only digital tablet editions or online or a combination of both - which could be a good thing because something new could emerge that does give a shit about music and knows how to present it to a worldwide audience.

Westie has a point about it's readership not being interested in music in THAT way. Like we all were. The kids don't give (enough of) a fuck. It is sad for us but I don't miss the NME as the way I read about music has changed. I gather information and listen to new bands etc online.

Personally I think the NME could have cleaned up if they got their online presence right 10 or so years ago. They could've been the British Pitchfork. For all it's horrible flaws Pitchfork seems to have become the place to be featured/seen. That's what the NME used to be.

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Last edited by Trev on Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:26 pm 
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Trev wrote:
[ ] Personally I think the NME could have cleaned up if they got their online presence right 10 or so years ago. They could've been the British Pitchfork. For all it's horrible flaws Pitchfork seems to have become the place to be featured/seen. That's what the NME used to be.


It's probably the most oft-repeated truism of the music world, that NME's failure to invest properly online has absolutely fucked them. But it's still incredibly true. So it's worth repeating.

Their website has always, always been terrible. Always. Fuck knows how much various Content Managers have trousered off them over the years but... it's a joke. Always has been.

Pitchfork's overtaken them because you can actually trust the quality of their rankings and content. Like it or not a '9' from NME means nothing; but a 9.0 from Pitchfork has instant gravitas.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:04 pm 
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It's the classic case of something doing well in the real world (high street, print form, etc) that could be replaced by something cheaper or free online, ignoring the bloody obvious dangers and thinking that they will survive anyway. In fact I think nme.com decided right from the off that selling mobile ringtones and band T-shirts was what their site would be about, rather than content, which would remain in the paper. The fools.

I do agree that NME could have been the British pitchfork. In fact ten years ago, US (especially Brooklyn) bands were frequently playing some of their earliest gigs in London, while still largely unknown back home, because good publicity in NME was hugely important, and could be used in ad quotes for their single/album

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Agree with everything said above.

A crying shame. But yeah, the NME it's not long for this world is it?

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:57 pm 
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Westie wrote:
He Who Hears Horses wrote:
[ ] That's why no-one's buying it. You wanna sell mags en masse you need scandal, contentious opinions, characters that polarise opinion and invoke adoration or anger.


I don't think this is true any more. What's NME's core demographic? 16-24 year olds isn't it? This current generation of that age group are the best-behaved, cleanest, politest, most conservative group of youths there's ever been. And look at the bands they all like. Clean, posh, inoffensive and safe. All of them talking about themselves/their broken hearts etc. rather than social situations/politics. You can't sell rebellion and ire to these people because they don't believe in it any more. Or, rather, not enough of them believe in it to prop up an ailing music weekly.


I agree with your brilliant description of the middle class kids who listen to mainstream indie, Westie, but I feel that that's just one faction of potential NME buyers, not it's entire demographic anymore, or at least it needn't be.

One of the things that's unique about this generation is the massive cross pollination between genres - there aren't clean lines defining anything anymore and NME could and should have exploited this more, as Pitchfork does, or as any worthwhile music blogs do.

It's NME's choice to champion Palma Violets and Peace over Ty Segall or Deerhunter.

It's their choice to put the Manics on the cover twice in one month. There's no need to do this - it clearly isn't working. It's because the magazine is run by conservative, anachronistic writers. But there are better music writers out there - as the internet proves - and I'm sure any of them would love to get paid an NME wage to do what they love!

In 2014 thus far, every cover star has been male, and there has been 1 black guy on a cover. This is in a climate where the biggest pop stars on the planet are black and there is more focus than ever on women being treated equally within music.

My point ultimately is that it's run by Blair's children - young conservatives who mask themselves in leftist spin and soundbites who over the last 10 years or so have slowly infiltrated 'alternative media' and gradually taken it over. These are people who view 'indie' as a viable career option rather than a passion.

There are interesting bands out there who if you put a tape recorder in front of them will give you contentious headlines that'll sell magazines, there are sexy popstars out there who'll split opinion and provoke debate. NME chooses to put re-issues on the cover and keep it's content safe.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:53 pm 
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He Who Hears Horses wrote:

My point ultimately is that it's run by Blair's children - young conservatives who mask themselves in leftist spin and soundbites who over the last 10 years or so have slowly infiltrated 'alternative media' and gradually taken it over. These are people who view 'indie' as a viable career option rather than a passion.

There are interesting bands out there who if you put a tape recorder in front of them will give you contentious headlines that'll sell magazines, there are sexy popstars out there who'll split opinion and provoke debate. NME chooses to put re-issues on the cover and keep it's content safe.


Your first point, yes. Though through links they've actually given rather good reviews to more leftfield stuff.

I suspect your second point isn't true, or they'd be on the cover. As for the monthlies, so for the NME - put someone who ain't one of the usual suspects on the cover and you find out what low circulation really is

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Out of interest do we know what the circulation for The Wire is? That's a real leftfield publication (a little too dry and up itself for me, I was about 15ish years ago a subscriber when I was into real droney post rock stuff).

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:22 pm 
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SPT wrote:
He Who Hears Horses wrote:

My point ultimately is that it's run by Blair's children - young conservatives who mask themselves in leftist spin and soundbites who over the last 10 years or so have slowly infiltrated 'alternative media' and gradually taken it over. These are people who view 'indie' as a viable career option rather than a passion.

There are interesting bands out there who if you put a tape recorder in front of them will give you contentious headlines that'll sell magazines, there are sexy popstars out there who'll split opinion and provoke debate. NME chooses to put re-issues on the cover and keep it's content safe.


Your first point, yes. Though through links they've actually given rather good reviews to more leftfield stuff.

I suspect your second point isn't true, or they'd be on the cover. As for the monthlies, so for the NME - put someone who ain't one of the usual suspects on the cover and you find out what low circulation really is


My second point hasn't happened in a long while, and the last time it did (in even the loosest sense) - White Stripes, Strokes, Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, Hives, Bloc Party, The Coral, The Killers etc - it worked for NME.

They aren't trying anything new - see my list of cover stars this year - they are simply letting their readership fall away while promoting re-issues.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:50 am 
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I think it's got nothing to do with content and everything to do with the platform. I see it every day working in a library. The physical is being left behind for the electronic medium. NME were arrogant believing themselves to be immune from the cyber media age we find ourselves in. They should have invested everything into their online presence and allowed the physical copy to die of natural causes. Unfortunately arrogance always leads to a downfall. Now as they watch their physical presence disappearing, they are turning, perhaps too late, to their online presence. The only way to sell hard copies of anything today is to attach to it something that a reader or user cannot get electronically. I must say their physical demise means little or nothing to me.

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:51 pm 
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The NME is a shit magazine. The writing is poor, it's unadventurous in what it covers and almost gives more space to adverts than journalism. Like them or loathe them, the likes of Burchill, Parsons, Morley, Baker, etc, as well as photographers like Pennie Smith and Dennis Morris or the cartoonist Ray Lowry, were all unique voices, with something to say and the eloquence to say it. The fact that many of these people have thrived post-NME speaks for itself.
However, even if the NME were a fertile, ground-breaking, brilliantly written and illustrated paper, there would still be little demand for it. As previously said, this is partly due to the internet usurping the need for a weekly magazine, but also because music is not important to most people in the way it used to be. It's a consumer commodity, like chocolate bars or mobile phones.
This all ties in to Phil C's vented spleen piece, which makes some good points, though it's not just the political aspect that is being lost, it's the part of music that speaks to the soul and engages our emotions. Most people don't look to music to be anything more than a pleasant form of entertainment. This has always been the case, but in the past there was a sizeable enough minority, with a real passion for music, to sustain four weekly music papers. That minority now would be barely enough to keep one magazine afloat, even without the competition of the internet.
With hip hop now having been around for over thirty years and having been absorbed into the mainstream, there is only really the outer reaches of the UK grime scene that has any kind of grassroots outsider element, outside of the mainstream vibrancy to it and even that's been about for well over a decade. It's a rather parochial scene, that doesn't have the political vibrancy that Phil C has lamented the passing of, but it is still largely an outsider movement. There doesn't seem to be any other music that divides the generations in the way that music used to. There are a few acts, scattered amongst the fringes of other genres making more adventurous music, but there is not sufficient interest in this music to support anything more than niche websites, such as this one.
Maybe the fact that nearly all contemporary music is in genres that have been loved by the parents of today's youth that causes it to have no rebellious spirit any more. Between 1955 and 1985, there was the emergence of rock & roll, rhythm & blues, ska, mersey beat, soul, garage rock, psychedelia, prog rock, glam rock, disco, reggae, krautrock, punk, post punk, hip hop, house and a whole host of sub-genres as well as an evolution in jazz that took it far beyond it's roots. That's a thirty year period. In the thirty year period since, there has been some evolution in hip hop and dance music, but one that has been slowing to a halt. I like the way young people are open to listening to stuff from different genres, but often there seems to be a complete unawareness of genre, which leads to all music being the same; no feeling for the the different emotions expressed in, say, punk & gospel. I think there will be little interest in reading about music by young people, until the same young people come up with a music that they can call their own; a music that brings with it an outlook to the world that they can call their own. Don't hold your breath!

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 Post subject: Re: NME's circulation
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:03 pm 
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Agree with both Milchman and Cavey. This latest list from their website sums up the thought that goes into articles on there:

Quote:
Shed Seven, Idlewild, Skunk Anansie and more: 50 forgotten '90s indie bands


Wow! Never heard of those obscure gems. Must check them out if I can find any of their music online anywhere. I'd hate to think I was missing out on some forgotten, underachieving bands.

Shed Seven:
15 top 40 singles
4 top 40 albums

Skunk Anansie:
10 top 40 singles
3 top 40 albums

Idlewild:
13 top 40 singles
4 top 40 albums

All made the top 10 more than once. All probably sold a lot more records than most present chart acts. It's not "forgotten" at all, it's badly disguised nostalgia. Just like their covers seem to mainly focus on anniversaries and reissues (Oasis, Manics etc) or lists (top albums and singles of X period), their website also focuses on pointless lists. They churn out several each month, it just gets boring. Some imagination would be nice.


EDIT: Oh, and those three bands are still going by the way. But closer inspection of the list throws up unheard mysteries such as Mansun (3 top 40 albums, including a #1, 14 top 40 singles), The Longpigs, Electronic etc...

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