Iconic music publication NME has come to an end


“It’s a sad day for music” says Stoke-on-Trent music store owner Robert Barrs.

After 66 years of weekly print publication, National Music Express magazine has been released for the last time.

The print version will be entirely replaced by the website NME.com, which will be expanded on.

Robert Barrs, owner of Rubber Soul Records in Hanley

Rob Barrs, the owner of Rubber Soul Records in Hanley, says that it is a shame that the printed version of NME has ended.

Barrs believes that the closure of NME’s print edition after over six decades, will impact the relationship between shops like his and the music industry.

He says: “You might hear about a new group and think ‘I’ll order their album in to play in the shop’. It’s going to be detrimental to music and new artists.”

Barrs thinks that there will be something missing without the printed version of NME.

10th October 1981 edition of NME in print

He says: “It was good to have it in, it was good to give it away, it was good to read. To just have a brew and read about new groups.”

After its first publication in 1952, NME changed the way that people receive their musical news. The online version of the publication became available in 1996.

In 2015, the free NME magazine began its weekly appearance. The ultimate closure of the print copy was to follow. The magazines’ final publication was released on Friday 9th March 2018.

2nd February 2018 edition of NME in print

For Stoke-on-Trent, the music scene will be impacted by the closure of NME’s print publication according to Barrs.

He says: “I think Stoke’s historically stuck in its ways of Oasis, Britpop, Smiths and Roses. I don’t think we listen to new music like we should.

“NME was there to support new music I think, and if that isn’t there anymore it’s not going to help them.”

In reflecting on the music scene in Stoke-on-Trent, Barrs said: “In the 80s we had some great groups at the Vicky Hall, all the classics, all the big groups of the day and that stopped.

“Now its just tribute groups, which has a place and it serves a purpose, its not supporting new music or new bands”

Is this the beginning of the end for print music journalism? We can only wait and see.


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