For years Vibe magazine, has been the go-to source for all things music in the urban world. Launched in 1993 arguably, it’s stood the test of time in the print game. This week, we learned two new things about the iconic publication, founded by Quincy Jones and Time Warner. SpinMedia, announced the purchase of Vibe magazine and its properties Vibe.com and Vibevixen.com,for an undisclosed price. The new ownership also revealed plans to shut down the print edition of the 21-year-old R&B and hip-hop magazine by the end of 2013, and will now be entirely digital.
Formally known as Buzzmedia, Spin Media is a Los Angeles-based company that owns or represents more than 40 web sites that cater to younger pop culture savvy audiences including Concrete Loop, Celebuzz and Just Jared. The media company purchased Spin magazine last year and quickly shut down the print magazine and laid off a third of it’s employees. The magazine’s web traffic has since doubled.
Vibe magazine has been a staple in the urban music scene for over 20 years. There have been several legendary covers including Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy (as he was called at the time) and the infamous Death Row Records issue that featured Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre and Suge Knight. The magazine briefly shut it’s doors in 2009 due to financial issues, but reopened 10 months later after receiving investments from NBA legend and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson.
Steve Hansen, CEO of SpinMedia explained:
It’s really exciting to add this [Vibe] to SpinMedia’s collection of music properties and bring more digital DNA to the team and see what they can do.
We’re still trying to find a print model that works with digital economics, and that continues to be a challenge. It’s not as though I have an aversion to print. It’s just a matter of the economics.
Current Vibe editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall and SpinMedia general manager Jeff Leeds expressed their excitement on Twitter:
Only time will tell, but hopefully Vibe magazine keeps its edge among its new pop cultured-driven family. R&B crooner Miguel and rapper Kendrick Lamar are on the cover of the latest issue.