NME expands global footprint with Asia site launch

Dubbed as “the world’s defining voice in music and pop culture,” NME has been breaking what’s new and what’s next since it was first published as a music newspaper called New Musical Express in 1952.

Since then, NME has had an illustrious history of championing exciting British acts including The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Blur, Oasis, Coldplay and more. Popular and emerging American and international acts were also featured in its pages.

NME also gave extensive coverage to numerous genres and musical trends that emerged in time including psychedelia, glam rock, punk, new wave, grunge and hip-hop. Given its lengthy existence spanning several generations, it’s fair to say that NME has pretty much chronicled the history of popular music.  

NME magazine over the years

Over the last two years, NME has become a formidable online presence and just last year, extended its global reach when it launched its Australian edition.

NME Australia was an instant hit with music fans and currently attracts over half a million unique monthly readers. NME’s strong Australian presence has also led to the revival of a successful monthly print edition—just two years after its beloved British magazine rolled hot off the presses one last time.

February 2020 issue of NME Australia print magazine

Starting this Wednesday, August 19, NME’s global expansion continues as it will officially make its presence felt in Asia with a dedicated site that “promises a fresh take on the Southeast Asian music scene.”

With an initial focus on Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines but set to rapidly expand, NME Asia is an exciting new platform that celebrates both established and emerging homegrown talents across the region.

The site will deliver daily music and pop culture news from Asia and around the world, weekly New Music Monday features as well as definitive guides on new music, gaming, film, and television. Every month there will be a Regional artist spotlight, which will provide a new and in-depth platform for artists in Asia, looking to make the leap from their local market to regional and global audiences.

Headquartered in Singapore, NME Asia is led by a formidable regional editorial team led by Iliyas Ong, former editor of Time Out Singapore and Karen Gwee, former editor of Bandwagon and writer at NPR.

Ong and Gwee will manage a wide network of established music and pop culture journalists across Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines including seasoned scribes such as Daniel Peters and Hidzir Junaini from Singapore; Adrian Yap from Malaysia; Chanun Poomsawai from Thailand; and Aldus Santos, Paul John Caña, MC Galang and this writer, BusinessMirror’s SoundStrip editor Edwin P. Sallan from the Philippines.

This writer’s special feature on the recently launched Island Records Philippines, Caña’s profile of Filipino-American beatmaker Vex Ruffin, Galang’s review of Ruffin’s latest album, LiteAce Frequency and a banner piece on the top 10 Southeast Asian albums of 2020 so far (with contributions by Caña and Santos) are among the initial salvo of NME Asia articles on launch date.

Iliyas Ong, editorial lead of NME Asia, says, ​“Southeast Asia has a proud musical heritage. Whether it’s trending pop styles, traditional music or a marriage of the two, artists in the region have pricked the ears of audiences worldwide – and we’re thrilled to be able to tell their stories. Expect the best music writing and multimedia content, from breaking news to longform features to authoritative guides on the many vibrant scenes across Southeast Asia​.” 

Meng Ru Kuok, CEO of BandLab Technologies that operates NME adds,​ “Asia is a tremendously exciting and vibrant market to be launching into. Even though live events, tours and travel are on pause globally, there is still incredible creativity coming out of this region which we want to highlight. NME has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities in music and pop culture, known for a distinctive voice and point of view. As a group we have a long history in the region and as BandLab Technologies we are very pleased to be bringing a global powerhouse like NME to our doorstep, and to be opening a new channel between musicians, artists, fans and brands.”

If the site’s initial content is any indication, it looks like NME Asia is off to a rousing start.    


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