Long-running U.K.\u00a0music mag\u00a0NME will cease print publication after this week's issue, its publisher Time Inc. U.K. announced today. Its website NME.com will continue, substituting the traditional print cover story with a\u00a0weekly digital\u00a0feature called The Big Read. London post-punk band Shame become the\u00a0final cover stars of the weekly edition, though future print issues may appear under the publication's paid NME Gold spin-off. Founded in 1952, the magazine originally known as the\u00a0New Musical Express\u00a0covered the development of British popular music from the era of the Beatles and Stones through punk, post-punk, Britpop, indie rock, and grime. It hit its stride in the late '70s and early '80s, becoming the best-selling magazine in Britain with politically charged coverage of the punk scene\u00a0and influential tape compilations like C81 and C86.\u00a0In 1998, NME\u00a0switched\u00a0to a glossy format, adopting the tabloid-oriented style of coverage that would help supercharge\u00a0the careers of\u00a0next-big-thing bands like the Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, and Arctic Monkeys. "If you look at the sales of NME, there\u2019s a long slow curve of downward sales from 1964," former editor Conor\u00a0McNicholas told Noisey last year. "But there are two blips where they increased\u2014\u201877 to \u201978, when NME had finally jumped on the punk bandwagon, and '02 to \u201905. It happened for us in a way that it didn\u2019t happen with indie in the '80s or Britpop in the '90s, and the difference was that we owned the scene." In 2015, with paid circulation\u00a0slumping,\u00a0NME relaunched as a free, ad-supported weekly. The switch\u00a0to free boosted circulation numbers, but received generally poor reviews from readers and failed to revive the title\u00a0amid\u00a0a changed landscape for print media. \u201cOur move to free print has helped propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com,\u201d Paul Cheal, music group managing director for publisher Time Inc. U.K., told the Guardian\u00a0today.\u00a0\u201cWe have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market." The move to digital comes a week after Time Inc. U.K. was acquired by private equity fund Epiris, which announced its intention to bring "clarity and simplicity" to its new\u00a0portfolio.\u00a0Time Inc. U.K. is reportedly "consulting" with\u00a0NME's 23 staff members about possible redundancies.