Is This The Best That the NME Can Do? by @JeffStuka


Look at it. Go on, look at the music press today.  Well? What do you think of that.  No really, there are some great writers out there doing some really good stuff. Honest! I mean, look at NME! It’s got exciting new underground band, the Libertines on this weeks cover.  Fucking wow!  A band who did one good album, one average album and several mediocre tabloid front pages about five years ago.  Is that the best they can do?

No, course it’s fucking not. If you go online to NME.com and can force yourself to ignore the articles about the Libertines, they also have a piece on those other  ground-breaking trendsetters, Oasis.

Yes, the band who were so out of ideas by their third album that they resorted  to re-recording demos they rejected for their first album.  We’re blessed for cutting edge music journalism in this country. NME, thank you for bringing these bands to my attention.

Q magazine, on the other hand, takes a more encompassing approach to music.  It mixes interviews from ex-Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher with Lily Allen mini-sites.  Ooh.  Exciting.

Mojo, the “world’s best music magazine is also online” is also online.  And covering such up to the minute happening now artists as oh, I don’t know, Paul Weller, Julian Cope and yes, you guessed it, the Libertines.

Well, aren’t you just thrilled that exciting music is so widely represented by the beat press.

To be honest, it’s been clear for some time that the go to place for new music, sexy, unsexy or downright throw up in your pamphlet revolting, has been the internet. You’d think however that there would be a serious place in the printed press for emerging music, a national magazine that picks up on the regional heroes and expands their reach beyond the distance their mates can travel to a gig.

Every city has people who know the local scene, who can highlight the good bands. Shit, there may even be the odd decent writer here and there who could contribute the odd piece if only some cockshelf from the publishing houses would ask them. Printed press, take a break from this constant repetitive celebration of bands whose time has gone and stop cynically exploiting the back catalogues of history.  You’re not Simon Cowell.  The past is already on your ipod.  Exploit the passion of the people who make grass roots music happen every night of the week. Make them national treasure rather than local heroes. Embrace now.  Embrace the future

Jeff Stuka

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18 responses to “Is This The Best That the NME Can Do? by @JeffStuka

  1. Easy targets reluctantly avoided and replaced with a simple helpful suggestion:

    The coding for that set of website links is cocked up: all of the latter five direct to “totally bone”. It might perhaps need a minor touch of repairing.

  2. You said yourself that there is no revolution waiting for us, so it is not surprising that the music press is so uninspired and backward facing. Ultimately, we only really have ourselves to blame. It is easy to stop these magazines – don’t buy them. If only there were more people willing to do this, and more people ready to make the effort that is required to find new music. The revolution will only begin when people stop being satisfied with being spoon-fed… as we both know, there is great music being made on every corner of every street in the world. Corporations choose what it is that is given promotion: ignore them and found it for yourselves. Like Jeff says… and Dave – we can be heroes.

  3. Top read Jeff!!

    Q mag play it soooo safe with their emerging and new artist articles. I’m fairly sure a few months back they had Friendly Fires as a hot new band!

    It is easy to take shots at NME, I think one of the best things they have done in recent times is given Simon Cowell an interview and put him on the cover!

    An activity I find amusing is to read through some of the older issues of NME I have ,just to see them hyping the shit out of some band while making it quite obvious they have not really heard them!

    Liam

  4. Abso-fucking-lutely spot on.

  5. The sooner NME is put out of its misery the better. It’s been great to see the explosion of music blogs over the last few years and – contrary to what most publications think – there are thousands of new bands out there doing stuff that’s every bit as exciting as anything that’s gone before them. Of course the big corporations will keep on churning out the crap to the eager masses until the end of time but there is, at last, a free platform for spreading the word about the good shit…which is something we’ve never really had before. Sure, the average blog may only has 6 readers, sure most of those are the blogger’s friends and family but if just one random stranger is turned on to just one new band by each humble little blog then it’s all been worth it. Shit…I sound like a fucking hippie. Bollocks.

  6. Fair points on all three there Jeff I do agree, but all hope certainly is not lost in all our WHSmiths …. Artrocker and Stool Pigeon are still fine reads as is The Fly Mag …. the power and influence of printed press has depressed so much over the last five years that they dare put anything on the cover the “average one album a year purchaser” don’t recognise, it’s only a matter of time before it’s all online, which will make my train journeys crap unless local trains install power sockets so I can plug the ole laptop in and blog on.

  7. To defend the NME for a sec, in a recent Guardian interview with their new(ish) editor it was revealed they have a weekly circulation of 38,000 readers. 38,000. That’s not a lot.

    What else are they supposed to do to try and get people to buy their magazine other than promote bands they know are already popular? Sure, I would love to see Falling & Laughing or Ace Bushy Striptease on the cover of the NME but that’s not going to make me buy it, the market that’s interested in bands like that don’t buy magazines anymore, we use the internet, as you said yourself.

    I don’t see how there could be any money in a nationally produced music mag with a niche focus as that market is already being served by masses of free content from zines to blogs to podcasts to The Hype Machine to Twitter accounts and everything else.

    It’s a shame it’s come to this, I agree with you on that, but it’s also entirely understandable and ultimately irrelevant. Nobody who is bothered by this was ever going to be buying any of the magazines you’ve referenced anyway, we’ve all moved on.

  8. I gave up with the NME about 10 years ago – I was probably too old to be reading it then anyway.
    The NME was always supposed to be a good generation divider. Over-30s shaking their heads in exasperation at the crap younger audiences were listening to. Happened to each generation.
    But if they’re still covering Oasis and Libertines… jeez.
    The reason is almost certainly to do with something like this…
    NME ad sales staff call up potential advertisers, who in turn want to know how many hits/sales the NME pages are getting.
    If the NME is still championing the small bands setting out on the quest for fame then the audience figures won’t be nearly as high as if they keep rolling out Oasis, Doherty, Winehouse, Beatles etc.
    NME used to be one of the loudest to shout “Sellout!” at bands who ditched their indie upbringing in search of more ££s.
    Now it’s just unreadable. Even with terrible subject matter, the writing could still be educated, knowledgable and well-written.
    But it isn’t.

  9. The NME is for young people. You guys are too old to read it now – give it up!

  10. I’m gonna do myself a horlicks, listen to some vinyl and dream of happy days reading Select Magazine …

  11. You get the media you deserve!

  12. NME prints PR material written by PR people. It isn’t the old music journalism. Could you name a writer /columnist you like from any one of those music publications you mentioned?

    Bottom line, They don’t write about music critically, they write about the people /gossip / celebrities behind the music. The NME target should be judged by the standards of OK! mag.

    The problem for new artists who want ‘to break’ into the mainstream music press is that its getting harder and harder to shock and to generate scandals. I’m not saying musically god forbid.

  13. aw man Select..i loved that. I still mourn the loss of TV HITS though…

    NME=Purest Gash. It takes about 30 seconds to read so just do it when yr standing in the magazine aisle with the losers in WHSMITHS.Easy as pie.

  14. Uncut is the better magazine, I’ve found way more new bands that are worth listening to there than any of the others. x

  15. It always takes me about a minute to read NME (In Birmingham WH Smith on a Wed afternoon lunch break around 1pm,come join me sometime)

    Ive always had a major problem with the way mainstream media features “Hot New Bands”, not through finding them but from relying on “Trusted sources” i.e Pluggers and PR companies that bands have paid thousands of pounds in order to get themselves an article that nobody will remember in a week!

  16. Hehehe! Funny piece, thanks for the read 😀

    If you thought NME Magazine was repetitive… listen to NME radio. They are the personification of “Same shit different day”… in fact, they are “Exactly the same shit, different day”

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