Vibe magazine was sold to SpinMedia today (April 25), ushering in a new era for the venerable print and online Hip Hop and R&B publication.
“It’s really exciting to add this to Spin Media’s collection of music properties and bring more digital DNA to the team and see what they can do,” said SpinMedia’s chief executive, Steve Hansen.
The company changed its name from Buzz Media to SpinMedia following its acquisition of Spin Magazine last summer. Buzz Media then discontinued Spin’s historic print publication and laid-off a third of its staff.
According to Hansen, SpinMedia is likely to shut down Vibe’s print magazine by the end of 2013, stating: “We’re still trying to find a print model that makes economic sense in the digital age.”
Launched in 1992 by Quincy Jones and Time Warner, Vibe has been a lynchpin of Hip Hop journalism for over 20 years. There have been several iconic covers throughout the past two decades, arguably none more so than the foreboding Death Row Records issue (February 1996) that featured Suge Knight, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and the late Tupac Shakur. Penned by Kevin Powell and entitled, “Live From Death Row: Inside Hip Hop’s Ferocious First Family,” the cover story describing the inner-workings of the once powerful record label became a historical touch point during the East Coast versus West Coast feud that claimed the life of Tupac Shakur and Bad Boy Records-artist The Notorious B.I.G.
After a brief shutdown in 2009, Vibe was resuscitated by private equity fund InterMedia Partners, LP followed by additional investment from Magic Johnson and Ron Burkle. Today, Vibe Media’s digital properties average 1,400,000 visitors per month along with 1,600,000 video streams. There have been six Editor-In-Chiefs in the publication’s history, including Mimi Valdes and Danyel Smith.