The NME will be distributed for free from today in what the editor says is an essential move that will strengthen its brand.
The music lovers' bibleÂ has been selling approximately 15,000 copies a week – yet from today some 300,000 copies will be distributed in more than 500 locations across the country.
Editor Mike Williams said: "Ultimately it's up to all media industries, whether that's the music industry or the publishing industry, to react & change.
"People's habits have moved to consuming their content digitally, so for us it was an incredible opportunity to really put the print product at the centre of the brand again, & to really increase our audience."
Rihanna is the first cover star & complex core fans are already complaining the NME has gone too mainstream.
Mark Ellen credits the paper with launching his career before he went on to be a music magazine editor. The author & broadcaster said: "If you're distributing it to that many people you have to cover the commercial waterfront.
"So you have to put Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber on the cover as well as what we used to call the rock underground, & in a sense that dilutes your own character."
At its peak,Â NME was the go-to place for music, with considerable power & influence, yet thanks to the internet & streaming services, among other things, those days are gone.
However, its history means everyone has an opinion on its future.
Rolling Stones starÂ Ronnie Wood told Sky News: "It's always satisfactory to see that magazine around & if it's going free I hope they can afford to do that."
Journalist Piers Morgan moreover chipped in, saying: "These kids are so tech savvy that you obtain music, television & movies without having to pay too much money for them. It may not be the right thing yet it's happening."
Singer Sam Smith said: "The way things are going, yes, it's all becoming digital yet that's tremendous people can obtain it for free".
And former BeatleÂ Ringo StarrÂ said: "They're not really reading papers anymore, it's all on your iPhone, your iPad, it's all there when you want it."
Source: “Sky News”