Our shopkeeper – an industry expert – told us the move had been confirmed in a newsletter sent to stockists.
All day on Twitter and Facebook, people have been wondering if NME were set to announce that the magazine was going free. So, we went and asked our local shopkeeper – because if it is going free next week, he wouldn't be getting it in.
He said that next week's edition of the music magazine (the Feb 28th issue) will be "positively the last time" that it charges readers a cover price, adding that NME have already announced the news to stockists in a regular newsletter.
The last of the UK's old school music "inkies" suffered another fall in sales over the last year, it was revealed last Thursday (Feb 12). According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the magazine had an average weekly print circulation of 13,995 in the second half of 2014 – a 23 percent decrease in the figures for the same period in 2013.
A lot of the media has long enjoyed pointing out NME's declining sales, so it'll be interesting if they do go free. After all, the Evening Standard and Time Out have both enjoyed recent success from dropping the cover price.
UPDATE: We reached out to the publishers, Time Inc UK, for a comment and they insisted that our local shopkeeper is wrong, and that "it's untrue that next week's edition is the last paid for issue of NME" – but why would our local shopkeeper lie to us, readers? Why would he lie?