Despite boasting a circulation in the region of 818,000 in 2008, a spokesperson for VIBE magazine has announced that they are to close down with immediate effect. The magazine was established by Quincy Jones in 1993 and had enjoyed 16 years as a leading urban music publication. VIBE Media Group was acquired by Wicks Group in 2006 and has suffered a reduction in both size and circulation since the take over.
According to Editor in Chief Danyel Smith, the editorial team were working on an issue dedicated to the late superstar Michael Jackson when the news broke, as she explained in the following statement:
“We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news. It’s a tragic week in overall, but as the doors of VIBE Media Group close, on the eve of the magazine’s sixteenth anniversary, it’s a sad day for music, for hip hop in particular, and for the millions of readers and users who have loved and who continue to love the VIBE brand. We thank you, we have served you with joy, pride and excellence, and we will miss you.”
Smith stated that the Content Team could leave the building with their ‘heads held high,’ a sentiment that was clearly shared by the former VIBE Media Group CEO Steve Aaron, who expressed his pride and affection for the publication in his memo to the VIBE staff. Aaron named financial difficulty and the collapse in print advertising as the primary reasons for the decision.
VIBE built a reputation as a pioneering and original market leader in the field of urban music journalism and will be remembered for its innovative and sometimes risqué covers and diverse, insightful content. A prime example of such innovation was the infamous topical yet light-hearted TLC cover, where the girls dressed as fire-fighters, following the Left-eye fire controversy. VIBE will also be remembered for a number of memorable covers and articles featuring some of the biggest urban music stars.
It is currently unclear whether the brand will continue to exist as an online publication, although it has been confirmed that there will not be another print edition of the magazine. Once thought of as the most well-written and enriched music publications, VIBE Magazine will be sorely missed by both the industry and the hip hop community.
© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)
To be continued exclusively in the next edition of Street Cred Magazine…the home of Info.