This story was written by David Kaplan.
Vibe magazine is the latest pub in the process of closing up shop, GlobalGrind reported. It’s not clear when the last issue will hit the stands or if the website will be preserved. Representatives for the mag were not available. The music and lifestyle pub, which focuses on R&B and Hip Hop artists, was started in 1993 by producer Quincy Jones. It was acquired by PE firm Wicks Group three years ago. Like just about every other magazine, Vibe has been hit hard by the recession. In Q1, ad pages were down 42 percent, according to Publishers Information Bureau’s ranking.
—Last mag standing: The magazine will be closed immediately, NYT confirms. A meeting with the staff was held at 2PM; it’s not known how many employees will lose their jobs. In a memo obtained by Gawker, Vibe Media Group CEO Steve Aaron said the company struggled to find new investors to help it restructure its “huge debt,” but there were no takers. The absence of Vibe will leave only one large-circ magazine covering hip hop, The Source, which hasn’t been free of trouble either. That magazine has emerged from bankruptcy with a new owner last year.
—Tribute: In a separate memo, Danyel Smith, Vibe Media’s chief content officer and the mag’s EIC, pointed out that she was in the middle of assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when the news came down. In addition to the collapse of print advertising, Aaron blamed the magazine’s demise on the withering away of “key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers.” He added that often in a recession, among the first items to get sacrificed are multi-cultural campaigns. But on top of that, Vibe was a victim of the failing music industry and recording business it covered during its 16-year life span.
By David Kaplan