Media Lifeline: NME

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 16 April 2010 12:00AM

The iconic title is hoping its latest relaunch can help it once more become a 'heavyweight music magazine'.

1976 ... The NME, a rather earnest pop paper created in the 50s, had almost gone under in the 60s - but it prospered when, in the 70s, it was reinvented as a counterculture weekly by the inspired writers Nick Logan, Nick Kent and Mick Farren. Its golden era arrives when, from 1976 onwards, it becomes the house journal of the punk and New Wave movements and home to the celebrated enfants terribles, Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons.

1987 ... But when the modes of teen rebellion become more manicured in the early 80s, the NME fails to find a credible range of challenging new music genres to champion. Internal squabbles culminate in the departures of the editor Ian Pye and senior staffers Stuart Cosgrove and Joe Ewart. To rub salt in the wounds, The Smiths (the NME's latest cause celebre) split.

March 1998 ... Madchester, grunge and Britpop had buoyed the NME's fortunes in the early to mid-90s; but as the decade draws to a close, there's a slump in the fortunes of white guitar-based bands milking college tours. So it tries pulling political stunts once more.

May 2008 ... Having tried and failed (again) to broaden its musical horizons (hip hop, R&B), the NME hails the new wave of indie bands (Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines) as its latest saviours. But when the magazine's savaged in the industry for its narrow outlook, it responds with a relaunch under the editor Conor McNicholas. The aim is to be more grown-up and authoritative.

April 2010 ... Under its editor, Krissi Murison (who'd replaced McNicholas in June 2009), the NME is relaunched again. Its sales are now just over 38,000. Murison says that the aim is to make the title "much more mature and aspirational ... more opinionated, entertaining".

Fast forward ... 2019: Now the NME becomes more of a semi-academic musicological journal showcasing tribute bands from trad and swing to Elvis and the greatest hits of the Arctic Monkeys.

The magazine is now the centrepiece of this craze - and Parsons is invited to become its honorary editorial-consultant-in-chief.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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