British music paper NME to print final issue

It's the end of an era for the British music industry.

NME, the weekly pop music newspaper that created the first British singles chart in 1952, will be printed for the final time this week as it shifts focus to a digital audience.

The popular paper documented the rise of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the 1960s, punk in the 1970s and the Britpop explosion in the 1990s. Kiwi rockers the Datsuns graced its cover in 2002.

By 2015 however its circulation had plummeted from 300,000 to just 15,000. It was re-launched as a free publication, but increasing production costs and a tough advertising market mean that's no longer viable.

"NME is one of the most iconic brands in British media and our move to free print has helped to propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com," owner Time Inc UK group managing director Paul Cheal said.

"The print reinvention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of.

"At the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market.

"Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable."

Its website has been running since 1997.

Bands featured in the magazine expressed condolences on social media. Kasabian tweeted it was a "truly sad day", while the Libertines were "very sorry to hear" it was no longer in print.

The cover of the final print issue will be graced by rock band Shame, BBC reports.

One-off special editions of the magazine will be printed on occasion.

Newshub.