My old friend Conor McNicholas, editor over at NME, is embarking on an innovative spin on the covermount. In conjunction with Oasis and Arts Council of England NME are giving away a CD that contains sheet music and lyrics of some songs from Oasis’ forthcoming album. One of the underlying ideas is to get fans to upload their own interpretations of the songs before having heard them. It’s a cool way of engaging with fans, taking Radiohead’s Nude remix into the “real intruments” realm.

It also illustrates Conor’s ongoing efforts to pull NME into the 21st century. Some critical observers have pointed to the declining print readership and to the more mainstream focus of the content. But such criticism ignores the facts that:

a) declining print readership is an industry wide trend, felt particularly keenly in the music press
b) NME used to be mainstream. Flicking through my dad’s old 1960s copies and it’s all about Cliff Richard and the Beatles. Not exactly underground
c) NME is now becoming a multimedia entity (web, TV, live events etc), having the foresight to limit its dependency upon a dying medium