This morning NME’s long-term Editor Conor McNicholas announced his resignation, via everyone’s current favourite social networking site, the ubiquitous Twitter.

So what is next for the ailing music weekly?

Public spats with Morrissey (the Smiths legend threatened legal action after yet another NME article labelled him as a racist) and sharply dropping circulation figures mean the paper is rife for a rescue package.

A complete overhaul is needed. This year especially the magazine has suffered from a ‘see what sticks approach’, throwing various genres, bands and artists into the magazine in the vain hope that one of them proves to be a popular choice.

Another reason the magazine has struggled of late is the lack of a bright new British hope to bang the drum about. The NME quickly hung its hat on the Strokes’ revival of rock and roll at the beginning of the decade and got it spectacularly right, as waves of New York bands followed before the most iconic British band since Oasis arrived: The Libertines.


Peter Doherty and Carl Barat’s love/hate relationship coupled with regular updates on Pete’s health kept the magazine bobbing along until the band’s natural successors Arctic Monkeys turned up, but the publicity-shy Northerners haven’t been nearly as photogenic or copy-rich as NME would like.

Glasvegas were the latest band for NME to strike lucky with, although their mainstream success has been limited to say the least.

And with pop looking like going through a comeback this summer the NME has been slow to catch up, with its writers more keen on hyping long-forgotten grunge bands.

A lack of competition has also stifled the magazine. The other remaining music weeklies attract totally different audiences so the NME is left with nobody to fight in the circulation wars.

Their closest rivals, Q, have reacted to the economic downturn by attempting to become a one-stop entertainment shop for blokes of a certain age, incorporating films and television into its pages in the hope of attracting a wider audience base, but NME appears to be stuck in a rut of trying to tell their audience what to like, although 21st century kids are more than capable of deciding for themselves before names like Florence and the Machine and the Big Pink have even made it into the magazine.

Whoever takes over has a huge job on their hands and it will be fascinating to compare McNicholas’ NMEs to the new Editor’s in a year or so.

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