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Specific Music Magazine Analysis - NME MAGAZINE

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Emily Pilbeam

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of Specific Music Magazine Analysis - NME MAGAZINE

Specific Music Magazine Analysis
History of NME...
NME was first published in 1952 as a music newspaper but gradually developed into a magazine format during the 80's. Over the years the magazine has gone through drastic changes to meet the demands of its audience so that the magazine can keep running. For a short period of time, NME was associated with gonzo journalism. This was where the journalist would put themselves into the story and write in first person. NME has frequently had to change the way it writes its articles to suit its particular audience, change the style, genre and its layout, all to fit its target audience. Here is how NME has changed over the years...
Style of NME
For my specific music magazine analysis I chose to analyse NME. The main reason I did this is because NME bases its magazine on similar genres that I would like to focus my music magazine on. Another reason I've chosen to anaylse NME is because I love the layout, house style and copy of NME. The magazine appears professional, interesting, classy and is eye catching. I'm now going to analyse the techniques that NME uses to create these effects.
Who owns NME?
IPC Media owns NME Magazine along with several other magazines. IPC creates content for print (normal magazines that you buy in shops) and has developed so you can receive the content online, on tablets and on your mobile.

NME championed upcoming British bands of the time, bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were frequently on the cover. In 1962, the magazine had a circulation of 306,881 magazines and was the UK's biggest sellers of the time. NME awards were created around this era and from 1964, the awards ceremony was recorded, edited and showed on TV a few weeks after.
This was a difficult era for NME as Musical Express magazine was becoming more and more popular and NME struggled to keep up with the development of rock music. To change this, Alan Smith was made editor of NME who changed the format drastically and the magazine became smarter, hipper, more critical and funnier than any other British magazine. As a result of this the magazine had regular sales of 300,000 copies per week.
One example of how critical the magazine became was of a review in 1976. A German band called Kraftwerk were slated by NME with the review titled 'This is what your fathers fought to save you from'. On top of this, the band were described as having electronic melodies that flowed "as slowly as a piece of garbage".
1976 was the year of punk rock and NME were the first magazine to give The Sex Pistols music-press coverage on a live review. However, NME were slow on the whole uptake of punk rock in comparison to Melody Maker and other magazines. Due to this, NME came to the conclusion that younger journalists were needed to cover the emerging punk rock scene, Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill became the two young journalists who were the 'champions' of the punk scene and helped to develop a new tone for NME. During the punk rock era, the magazine became more political and sometimes the front cover would be of youth-orientated issues rather than musicians.
In 1978, the redesign of the NME logo came in to place and the same logo has been used since 1978 (albeit with slight alterations).
Basic Information
Launch Date: 1952
Frequency: Weekly
Cover Price: £2.40
Audience: 66% male
34% female
Age: 15 - 34
Median Age: 24
Unique Users: 7.7 million
Circulation: 23, 924
About IPC
The UK's leading consumer magazine and digital publisher
Reach 26 million UK adults - 42 male and 58% female
Their award winning websites reach up to 25 million users worldwide each month
Founded in 1958 in the UK
Sells over 350 million copies each year
IPC is owned by Time Inc that is a subsidiary of Time Warner. Time Inc publishes over 130 magazines that cover several different genres
IPC currently has three publishing divisions: IPC Connect, IPC Inspire and IPC Southbank. Each division focusing on a different core audience.
IPC Connect
The target audience for IPC Connect is women. These magazines are read by 9.4 million women, equating to 49% of all mass market women.
IPC Connect focuses on key topics that will appeal to their target audience, including: celebrity & fashion, lifestyle, traditional, TV and entertainment, real life and casual gaming
Celebrity & fashion
Teen Now
both focus on celeb gossip, who's wearing what and what is in on trend
Woman's Own
aims to entertain and inspire its readers and focuses on the busy lifestyle of women
Women's Weekly
offers ideas and information for women who are the heart of their family
Real life
is a magazine that requires readers to get involved with the magazine by telling them their stories so the reader can feel a connection with the magazine
TV and entertainment
What's On TV
aims to inform the audience of the latest storylines on the soaps and includes puzzles, competitions and easy to use TV listings

IPC Inspire
IPC Inspire is the only section that has a target audience of males. It covers a whole range of interests from music to country.
The main topics which IPC Inspire cover are: Country, Equestrian, Cycling, Men's Lifestyle, Marine, Sport, Music, Decanter and Technology.
Country Life
is one of the most instantly recognisable UK magazine brands that covers history of architecture, art and agriculture
- this is a market leading portfolio for IPC Inspire and it includes the likes of
Shooting Times
Shooting Gazette
Sporting Gun
. This has an unmatched range of brands so IPC Inspire can dedicate a magazine to each different types of shooting.
- IPC Inspire provides magazines for beginners and to boating professionals and is read in over 100 different countries
Men's Lifestyle
magazine is one of the most purchased magazines when it comes to men's lifestyle magazines.
is an entirely unique magazine that has built a heritage and earned lots of respect and credibility over the years. Not only is this magazine available in print but it can be available online and NME is host to its own radio station and hosts events and award ceremonies each year.

IPC Southbank
IPC Southbank has a target audience of the more upmarket women audience. Whereas IPC Connect has 6 topics it focuses on, IPC Southbank only has 3: Fashion, Home Interest and Women's Lifestyle.
- magazines like
Marie Claire
and Instyle focus on the hottest fashion around and inspire women to think smart and look amazing. They provide women with fashion and beauty tips and are always bang on trend
Home Interest
Ideal Home
(Britain's best-selling interiors magazine) and other home magazines help women to make the most of their homes by providing them with the latest trends for in the home and helps them to appear young and modern.
Women's Lifestyle
Women & Home
is a growing magazine that helps to inspire women and reflect on the way women work and live their lives on a daily basis
By splitting IPC Media into three distinct sections that are separated due to the differences in target audiences, it helps the editors and people working on these magazines to really focus on what their magazine needs to include that will make their target audience want to read their magazine. Within these three sections, they are split again by having different genres to base their magazines around, increasing their chances of being able to use specific features, fonts, colours to attract their target audience. Another helpful thing about splitting IPC Media into different sections is that it ensures that each section isn't competing for the same target audience - reducing competition.
What is Marketforce?
"Marketforce is the UK's leading magazine sales, marketing and distribution company"
IPC Media works with Marketforce to help get their magazines on the shelves as Marketforce is the link between publishers and retailers - meaning it gets the magazines from the publishers and puts it in shops so that people can buy them
Marketforce makes up a quarter of the total magazine category in the UK. The aims of Marketforce is to keep coming up with new ways to increase the sales of magazines and by being a reliant and effective supply chain. IPC Media and Marketforce work with all types of retailers like WHSmiths, Tesco's, Sainsbury's etc.
Initially, NME was a music newspaper but it gradually became a music magazine
NME Online
Not only can you access print versions of NME magazine, but you can also get NME on twitter, facebook, youtube, online, on your phone and on your tablet. NME.com was launched in 1996 and is now the biggest music music site with over 7 million users per month. However, due to the popularity of the website, it has led to a decrease in circulation of magazines as people can quite easily access the same information online, rather than going to a shop to buy information that you can read online.
As you can see, there are lots of things available to people who use NME.com. There are regular music updates in the News section, new videos get put up, tickets, festivals, reviews, photos etc are all available on this website so that the readers can all be updated with the latest goings on in the world of rock, pop and indie. This shows just how magazines have had to develop along with technology otherwise people would become less interested in buying magazines and would just research information instead. But, NME have still managed to keep their popularity by making their own website with regular musical updates.
Why is NME so popular?
NME was first launched in 1952 and has since then undergone many changes through management and style of the magazine yet it has managed to maintain its popularity throughout the years. It is the world's longest weekly running music weekly magazine. NME is focused on giving you all the news from the world of music, whether it be based on providing you with information from some new upcoming bands, or from classic bands. NME is consistently providing you with album reviews, gig reviews, festival announcement, album announcements, band/artist news, tours and much, much more.
NME is a well respected magazine, not only by readers but well known artists and bands. As the magazine has been running for so long, its readers trust the magazines judgement on albums/artists and will most likely buy the magazine on a regular basis because of its loyalty to the magazine.
NME extra's!
Not only does NME provide you with a print magazine and online features; every year the magazine holds its annual NME awards and NME awards tour. The NME awards is a night in which bands and artists all come together to celebrate the best and worst things to come out of the year. A few artists perform to a small handful of the public and the rest are people from bands.
NME extra's!
Before the NME Awards take place, NME create their own UK tour with upcoming bands on the bill so that readers of NME or fans of the bands can see them before the bands get big. In the past, Miles Kane, Two Door Cinema Club, Crystal Castles, Everything Everything and The Vaccines have performed. This helps the bands get more recognition and also the magazine because if people have heard of the tour through the bands, then it might make fans interested in the magazine because they're supporting their favourite band.
1981 was the year that NME released the C81 tape in co-operation with Rough Trade Records. The C81 tape was a cassette tape compiled by NME journalists that included tracks from current bands or artists of that time period. Readers had to collect two coupons from two different NME issues, send them off along with £1.50 and then they'd get the C81. A second cassette tape was released in 1986, named C86.
During the mid-80's, NME hit a rough patch and their sales were dropping so drastically that they were in danger of ending. Journalists were split into two sides: those who wanted to write about hip-hop (a new genre to the UK) and those who wanted to stick with writing about rock music. A lack of direction for the magazine was apparent and led to even more of a decline in magazine sales - the magazine had several features that weren't even related to music!
Due to the lack of direction and general disturbance for workers in NME, three workers were sacked and the editor was replaced by Alan Lewis who decided to mirror the revival of Alan Smith a decade and a half before. Staff were inititally worried about the new regime, yet the magazine boomed commercially and brought in new writers that gave the magazine a stronger identity and stronger sense of direction. Two new genres became evident in the magazine, gothic rock (alt rock) and acid house which created Madchester. Madchester helped to give NME a new lease of life.
NME began the 1990's still focusing on the Madchester scene by covering new British bands and alternative rock. But by 1992, Grunge had taken over with the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam being the most popular. NME were again slow on the uptake of the new genre, Grunge, and only really took a lot of interest after Nirvana's extremely successful album Nevermind. NME was still a huge supporter of British bands but during this period it was dominated by American bands. The magazine felt it was important to focus more and more on British bands as it was essentially a British magazine.
Not only was 1992 the year of Grunge but it was also the year NME had a very public dispute with The Smiths' vocalist, Morrissey after the accusation that he used racist lyrics. Issues after their fallout seemed to increase Morrissey's dislike for NME and he only spoke to NME again after a decade because he was certain that the writers he argued with were long gone.
1994 was the year of Kurt Cobain's death which not only distressed fans of Nirvana and readers of NME, but caused a massive change in music scene in Britain. Grunge was replaced by Britpop (an alt rock genre that was heavily influenced by British guitar pop music from the 60's and 70's). By the end of the year, Blur and Oasis were two of the biggest bands of the time and NME sales were increasing rapidly thanks to Britpop. However, Britpop died out as quickly as it came in and once again the magazine was left with no direction.
In 1998, the newspaper was no longer printed on paper but became a glossy magazine.
Melody Maker's writer, Ben Knowles, became editor of NME and in the same year, NME and Melody Maker officially emerged together. It was expected that NME was going to end so once again, the magazine decided to broaden its horizon by focusing on hip-hop acts and RnB groups but yet again it proved unpopular with its readers and the idea was soon dropped.
By 2001, NME went back to its roots of focusing on new music by introducing new bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes. In 2002, Connor McNicholas became editor and came along a new wave of photographers and an increase in young writers. NME began to focus on new British bands such as The Libertines, Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs who emerged as 'indie groups'. Arctic Monkeys were championed successfully by NME and received widespread success.
In 2008, NME has been criticised for not having a wide range of music genres and Caroline Sullivan said that NME write about bands that "don't need specialist knowledge to write about and who are just 'indie' enough to make readers feel they're part of a club". My personal response to this criticism is that there is evidence which shows that NME have tried to make the magazine become more diverse, yet readers don't want that and sales figures dropped - therefore the magazine is just writing about what the audience wants to read about. In May of the same year, the magazine had a redesign so that the magazine is now aimed at a more mature audience, with a less poppy and more reliable, trustworthy tone.
House Style
House Style is the style of your particular magazine which is portrayed through colours, font types, images, layout and the copy.
For NME, it clearly has a consistent House Style that is used in every single NME issue to portray its ability to provide its readers with similar things week-in week-out. Plus, it helps to make the magazine instantly recognisable for the reader. The masthead is an example of how the house style is kept the same each week. Although the font colour changes in relation to the colour of the background or the effects that the editor wants to have on the reader - the font type and the size of the masthead always stays the same.
On this cover, the masthead is black so that it stands out against the yellow background and it draws your attention to the masthead because it's so bold. The masthead also looks like it's been rubbed away or is a little bit worn. This fits in with that weeks issue of NME as it's based on Reading and Leeds festival and by having it having a worn effect, it looks like the magazine has come directly from the festival, making the reader feel more involved.
The use of the colours red, yellow and black are colours that are frequently associated with NME as often the masthead is red and there are uses of yellow/black on the front cover so that it stands out more. Plus, red and yellow are the main colours that Reading and Leeds use on their line-ups, posters, big screens etc. Causing the reader to immediately think of Reading and Leeds as these colours are so often associated with the festivals.

The layout of the front cover is key when it comes to selling a magazine. Most magazines put their cover lines in the left third of their front page because this is the part that is visible on shelves so their cover lines must be there in order to intrigue readers and get them to pick up the magazine. The magazine wants to look full but not too overcrowded and the images mustn't clash with text otherwise it will be too difficult for people to read. NME always have big or upcoming bands/artists on their front page and most of the time the bands that appear on the front page are the bands/artists that are the main feature of that issue.
On the front cover of this issue they have used a close up of a well known musician's (Kurt Cobain) face. In the image he is pulling a face that is associated with anger and violence, which links into the stereotype of this musician's style of music. The main cover line is a quote from the musician saying "The pussies and wimps who liked the last album won't ever like this one". The style of font that was used to write this text looks like the musician has hand-wrote it himself so it adds to the effect of the quote and ensures us that it is a quote from the musician. The content of the quote links into why the musician appears so aggressive in the picture and also links into why they've used a close up shot - to make the reader feel intimidated.
The quote has been placed towards the left third of the magazine so that it's noticeable in shops. In the circle underneath the masthead is another cover line that has been put into a circle so show it is separate from the image on the front cover.
One thing I particularly like about this front page is that above the masthead you can see a strip of bands/artists that are available somewhere in the magazine. It doesn't tell you what you can find about them in the magazine, it just mentions other bands you can find, leaving a sense of mystery for someone who likes a band/artist mentioned, making them want to get the magazine to see what's inside. Also, NME have cleverly placed the names above the masthead because the masthead is one of the first things you look at, meaning that the banner is one of the first things you look at.
I've always loves the contents page for NME magazine because it's so clear, interesting and easy to read. The contents page title takes up a small section at the top of the magazine and then the rest of the contents page is divided into sections based on images and their articles. The more important article has the larger image and takes up the centre of the page so that your attention is immediately drawn to that article.
Surrounding the main feature of the contents page are other images and snippets of their articles. I like that they've used lots of images that are relevant to the magazine/article they're writing about because it makes more interesting for the reader rather than having to be constantly reading/looking for information on their favourite bands. If your favourite band is featured in one of the images then all you need to do it look at the image, read a quote and then the page number is on the image so you can quickly navigate your way through the magazine.
The contents page has the same effect as the front cover because it's professional and looks mature so it appeals to its target audienceThe main reason I really like this contents page is that it's such a simplistic layout that looks modern, classy and gives the reader so much information, without even looking like it's over-crowded or jam packed with information.
This double page spread is simple, yet very effective. On one page, there is an image of the person the article is about and placed on top of him is the title 'IN GOOD HEALTH' which is ironic as he is holding two alcoholic beverages and it's Pete Doherty who is well known for his drug abuse. By using a full page for an image of one person it portrays the importance of the character and attracts your attention immediately to him and the title.
The layout of the text of this double page spread looks like a serious magazine article because there appears to be a lot of text on one page. But, bits of this text is broken up with a pull out quote to provide the reader with a break from all the non-stop reading and to attract the readers attention to the interesting points of the article.
With the use of alcohol in the main image of the article it suggests that the magazine is aimed at older people because you wouldn't expect a professional magazine to publicise about the use of alcohol if the magazine was aimed at younger children. Also, the image of Pete Doherty holding a pint of beer and with him pictured looking a little bit 'rough' and tired, the image fits in with the representation of rock stars being drunks and druggies.
My magazine...
When it comes to creating my own music magazine, I want to base a lot of what I do on the things I have seen NME magazine do. For example, like NME I will have a target audience ages from 15 - 34. Due to this, I will use similar features, fonts, colours, images, etc because it will appeal to the same target audience. On top of this, I will look at different types of ideologies to see if I agree with them or whether I decide to challenge them in my magazine. I will use similar types of motifs to keep my audience interested.
Although I am basing my magazine around NME, I want to be able to challange the normal conventions of a magazine and somehow make my magazine unique and different.
As you can see, the same font is used for almost all the writing on this front page, but it uses a different font for the quotes placed on the body of Trent Reznor (person on the front page). This helps to separate the pieces of text and makes it easier for the reader to read.
NME have chosen this specific font because it doesn't look childish, in fact it looks rather adult-like and mature so it fits the age of its target audience. The colours red, yellow and black have been used for those reasons as well because they're not the types of colours you would expect in a children's magazine.
Representation of women
In most music magazines, they stick with ideology that men are better than women and women are often seen as a sexual object so are portrayed as being sexy and appear unequal in comparison to the male rock stars. In this issue of NME they've gone for quite a different take.
Musically, Florence Welch has a very different style/voice in comparison to other artists like Rihanna, Kyle, Beyonce etc. This is why NME have taken a very different approach to the normal representation of women. On the front cover, Florence is wearing quite an old fashioned outfit and hat. Florence has one arm across her body and looks a little bewildered. By doing this, NME have made her look very innocent and as if she can do no wrong. Obviously this is a very different approach that peopel normally take because often the sexier a woman appears on the front cover, the more magazines are sold because it increases the amount of males buying the product. However, as they have used Florence to do this kind of effect with, it works because she is a very different artist and is not known for being provocative.
If you look at the front cover with Rihanna on the front cover, the representation of women differs. Rihanna is striking a more confident and sexier pose than Florence and she's wearing bright clothing and bright make-up, making her stand out more and look sexier. The masthead and title of the magazine differ also to the front cover with Florence on because the font used is a bright pink which is associated with girls, suggesting that the NME magazine is changing its style to fit in with how different Rihanna is in comparison to Florence
A motif is something that is a pattern or design that is repeated throughout a magazine.
Above the mastheads in these magazines you can see a banner, listing names of other bands you can find inside the magazine. This is an example of a motif as it is something that is repeated every so often on the NME magazine covers.
The stickers you can see on the left are stickers that are dotted about throughout the whole of one NME magazine and lots more. These stickers are placed on images to attract the readers attention to the key bits of information found on the stickers. A red background is used because red is something you associate with warning or danger so it immediately draws the readers attention to that bit of information.
The masthead - NME - looks very modern because of the type of font being stylish, classy and not using sans serif. The name NME is very effective because it sounds like the word 'enemy' which links into the aspect of 'rebellious teenagers'. It's also written in 3's so it has a rhythm and is like an iambic pentameter. This makes the name of the magazine gets embedded into the reader's brain.
I noticed that NME often make the main cover line of the magazine the name of the band and then include a tagline or quote to explain a little bit of what the feature is about. It's often the colour of the main cover line that changes - not the font, unless it's a well known band. The layout changes in response to the band and images used.
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