Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vibe magazine folds

Sad...

Vibe Magazine—one of the biggest music magazines in America—is folding. The entire music magazine landscape is full of the dead and dying.

Wikipedia sums up Vibe unexpectedly well:

The magazine owes its success to having a broader range of interests than its closest competitors The Source and XXL which focus more narrowly on rap music or the rock & pop-centric Rolling Stone and Spin. It also differs from the more staid Essence, Ebony or Jet publications by attracting younger readers of many ethnicities.

It was essentially the black version of Rolling Stone, and its readership grew broader as hip hop became pop music. (Kind of fitting that their last issue had Eminem on the cover). But Vibe hasn't been doing well for a while now; in February, the magazine cut its circulation and frequency, and salaries. Now the music industry is crumbling, and the magazine industry is crumbling, and the music magazine industry is really crumbling.

The recent dead include Radio and Records, Performing Songwriter, and Blender. Vibe probably had the most demographically diverse readership of any major music magazine. Now, the hip hop magazine world is ruled by the shaky Source and XXL, with strong online competition; the trade music sector is still topped by Billboard, incredibly shaky as well; the pop music mag sector is ruled by Rolling Stone, which is a shell of its former self; and Spin, Fader, Paste, and everyone else are just trying to protect their own audiences from the free, and many times much better, online intruders. Hard times.

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