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NME reveals Rihanna as cover star for its relaunch as a free magazine

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By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

September 17, 2015 | 3 min read

The inaugural NME free weekly magazine will launch tomorrow following the publication’s decision to drop its paid for model in favour of generating revenue through advertising - the first cover star has been revealed as Rihanna.

The new magazine will feature an exclusive interview with the 27 year-old singer on her long-awaited eighth studio album as well as her thoughts on Taylor Swift, life in the public eye, working with Kanye West, feminism and the fallout from her 'Bitch Better Have My Money' video.

Time Inc. UK’s decision to rebrand its publication a free weekly magazine opens up more commercial opportunities to subsidise the dropped £2.80 issue price. It has been pushing the number of distribution locations as an incentive to advertisers who would be able to target a huge audience across the UK.

The free magazine will be distributed at more than 500 locations throughout the UK including 26 rail stations, 64 tube stations and 49 universities. NME is has pick-up points in 140 Topman stores, 121 HMV stores, 13 Academy Music Group live venues and 75 independent record stores.

Speaking earlier this summer ahead of the launch Mike Williams, NME editor, said the transformation would make the magazine “bigger, stronger and more influential than ever before. Every media brand is on a journey into a digital future".

He added that the changes wouldn’t “mean leaving print behind, but it does mean that print has to change, so I’m incredibly excited by the role it will now play as part of the new NME. The future is an exciting place, and NME just kicked the door down".

The publication, which was launched in 1952, had a UK circulation of 300,000 copies during its paid for model and with the new free model and the number of distribution points it looks likely to grow.

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