June 4th 2018 was my first day at globally recognised music magazine NME. I learnt a lot during my time here and I want to write a post on why NME just isn’t for me. Prepare for an honest and fair reflection of my personal experience in the office.
Famed for being the magazine that focuses on covering new and emerging artists with a history of music legends gracing the cover such as the Beatles, Nirvana and Oasis. It comes as no surprise that this publication is respected and loved by many people. However, a week in the office taught me a valuable and somewhat difficult lesson – NME doesn’t cover music from all genres as I had first thought. They only cover popular music and genres in trending news. In all honesty the word popular is key here because you could write about a band that is new, gaining traction and musically excellent, but they won’t publish it unless it is popular among a young audience and suitable for a mainstream chart. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, there is after all, a massive market for that, but it just isn’t for me.
The office is very cool indeed. The décor is beautiful with huge prints of old NME covers from when it used to be a newspaper hung on the walls, a huge mirror and a brightly coloured back wall highlighting everything the magazine is about. Sat in the middle of this I hear names such as Kamasi Washington, Idles, Pale Waves, Matt Maltese, Post Malone, Kid Cudi and Kanye West. It’s not that these artists are inherently bad, they’re good at what they do, but I don’t listen to them simply because it is not to my taste.
I suggested artists for their online playlists such as Lily Allen and J Hus. My Lily Allen suggestion got accepted and is currently on their B-List selection (www.nme.com/nme-audio-playlist). I transcribed an interview that was with Adam Lambert, and it was interesting as it discussed homophobia and coming out (www.nme.com/adamlambert). During the daily news meeting I advised a writer to check out a video analysis of the new Solo movie which explains why it wasn’t as successful as expected at the Box Office. So, I wrote up some notes and sent them across to help with writing the article (www.nme.com/star-wars-solo).
I pitched an idea and wrote a piece titled ’13 Essential Heavy Metal Tracks for Beginners’ where I was told that my words were good, but I just needed to add a bit more content. I did this and emailed it across, but the piece was not published. I was asked to write a piece on a desired itinerary of artists to catch at this year’s Download festival, I emailed this across and again it was not published. While I am super disappointed at this outcome, I have realised that this content is just not what the magazine covers.
I’ll be honest, walking round to the lift to leave and finding every staff member bouncing to Kid Cudi’s ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ hit the nail in the coffin for me. I didn’t like it in 2009 and I don’t like it now.
I will forever be grateful to NME for having me and allowing me to gain experience in their office. I certainly gained some skills from it. The most valuable lesson of all is that I now know exactly what type of publication I need to be working for. I will continue to work hard and one day I’ll be successful in my field covering the artists I know and love.