Free copy of the NME anyone?




The NME is now free and distributed.

The New Musical Express, since 1952 has been providing musos up and down the country with their weekly music digest. We love NME, so naturally we’ve been discussing the new format.

Having anticipated the arrival of the free version for some time, we were delighted to get our hands on a copy last Friday. On an industry level, there’s been mixed reviews about content, quality and sustainability of a free model.

We wholeheartedly believe that anything that gets people closer to music is generally a good thing. The question is, has there been a shift to the mainstream in a bid to make content more appealing to the masses and subsequently, to advertisers? Quite possibly so, but come on….we all understand this is the way advertising works. With online content being so widely available, it’s a sign of the times that falling sales of print editions has forced a rethink of the distribution strategy. Used cleverly as a gateway to more in depth, niche content on the website – it feels like an acceptable and justifiable approach.

Some might argue using Rhianna on the front cover goes against the underground nature of the publication. But we believe the decision to use her was a clever one. RiRi’s certainly a household name that everyone can recognise and according to Mike Williams (Editor In Chief) she embodies the personality of NME – both iconic and individual. Featuring a woman on the front cover as opposed to an all male underground prog-rock band immediately positions the new-look NME as an option for everyone.

Content in the main body of the magazine has experienced a few new twists and turns. There are more lifestyle pieces, a slight shift away from pure music and the addition of product reviews. There’s a hilarious new column fronted by comedian Katherine Ryan. In-depth editorial feels a little on the light side – there could be more live reviews. On the other hand, there’s a strong argument in favour of publishing digestible content that today’s millennial generation demand. We live in a time strapped society with attention spans getting close to ADD levels. It is however, still possible to delve deeper – just go online where NME continues to generate substantial content across many content pillars. All the journalism we know and love remains, including an excellent blog.

Regular readers of the online NME will enjoy being able to flick through a print copy. There’s a lot to be said about the physical experience of reading something – not to mention having it in your bag for those moments where we can’t get online, or (pray it never happens) when we leave our phone at home or the battery runs out.

For city dwellers, it almost seems that the Friday slot was waiting for the NME to provide a generous helping of music fodder for the daily commute to work or study. Currently, we have the Metro and Evening Standard daily, accompanied by ES Magazine, Time Out, Stylist and Shortlist for the rest of the week. There’s an abundance of free publications and an ever-growing advertising opportunity for brands to get closer to their respective audiences.

From a targeting perspective, we know the NME is an 16-24yr old audience and this explains the distribution strategy – hand-to-hand at all stations where there’s a whiff of cool, hipster or student. So that rules out Clapham for me, but I guess I’m outside the target demographic. Fear not though, it is still possible to grab the NME at a multitude of pick up points dotted across the country and for those who live in the far recesses of Scotland, there’s a mail order option for just 75p.

So there you go. The free and easy NME. Music journalism brought to your hands every Friday. Read and enjoy. I’m looking forward to picking up issue 2.2 on the way home from work today.

Thanks NME.

Long may you live.





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Why Big Fish?

UnknownPeople sometimes ask me why I called the company Big Fish…

It’s a fair question and one that I have never had a great answer for, now on the eve of our 16th birthday I think I understand and can explain why.

Back in 1999, Big Fish was a suggestion made by a friend of mine,  at the time there were loads of agencies cropping up with ‘interesting’ names and when she suggested Big Fish it seemed to feel suitably obtuse and a conversation starter.

16 years later, as we are developing a team to deliver deeper insights into how brands should work with music, David Lynch the legendary director has shown me that in my sub-concious, I have always known the answer. As soon as I read his quote I realised – in the same way as you realise once you have had a child that they have always been there, waiting in the wings and that you have known them all your life – I knew the answer as to why Big Fish.

So thank you Mr Lynch for dragging the answer from the depths of my brain and being much more eloquent than I have been till now.

So ask me again… Why did I call the company Big Fish?

Funny you should ask, it’s because…   Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure.They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful. –  David Lynch

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