Time Inc. will make NME free from September and increase its circulation to 300,000 in a bid to reverse the iconic music magazine's flagging fortunes.
The 63-year-old magazine will be given away nationally at train stations, university campuses and selected retailers in a similar model taken by London listings magazine Time Out.
NME currently costs £2.60 and had an average print circulation of just 13,995 in the second half of last year according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations - the first time it has dropped below 15,000 in its history.
As part of its transformation NME will expand its editorial focus around television, film, fashion, politics, gaming and technology. Current editor Mike Williams said the shift would make the brand "bigger, stronger and more influential than ever before".
He continued: "Every media brand is on a journey into a digital future. That doesn't mean leaving print behind, but it does mean that print has to change, so I'm incredibly excited by the role it will now play as part of the new NME."
Marcus Rich, chief executive of Time Inc, said:
This famous 63-year-old brand was an early leader in digital and has been growing its global audience successfully for the best part of 20 years. It has been able to do so because music is such an important passion and now is the right time to invest in bringing NME to an even bigger community for our commercial partners.