In September, NME will launch as a free magazine with more than 300,000 copies distributed nationally at stations, universities and retail outlets. While music will remain at the heart of the brand, NME will expand its coverage on film, fashion, television, politics, gaming and technology.
A new NME.com will launch alongside digital products, as well as live events, more video franchises and greater engagement with users on new social platforms.
It follows a continued drop in sales of the print magazine. It had an average weekly print circulation of 13,995 in the second half of last year, which is 23 per cent lower than in the same period in 2013.
Marcus Rich, CEO of NME owner Time Inc. UK, said: "This famous 63-year-old brand was an early leader in digital and has been growing its global audience successfully for the best part of 20 years. It has been able to do so because music is such an important passion and now is the right time to invest in bringing NME to an even bigger community for our commercial partners."
Mike Williams, editor of NME, said: "NME is already a major player and massive influencer in the music space, but with this transformation we’ll be bigger, stronger and more influential than ever before. Every media brand is on a journey into a digital future. That doesn’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."