Following the VIBE shutdown and subsequent resurrection this summer, many questions arose regarding the ability of the magazine to make any real impact or even stay afloat during a time when even the most established publications are struggling to survive.
When InterMedia purchased the assets of VIBE, they announced that the publication would only be appearing quarterly in a slightly oversized print format and would have a reduced cirulation of only 300,000, which is half of the print circulation at shutdown. The return edition is due to hit shelves on December 8th 2009 and is expected to contain over 40 pages of advertising.
Jermaine Hall, the new editor in chief of VIBE, stated that the focus would be Vibe.com, although he was looking to also make drastic changes to the print version of the publication. ‘It’s always been a very broad book that’s covered the culture of hip-hop, not just hip-hop music,’ Mr. Hall explained. ‘It needs to get back to that.’
Yesterday it was announced that the so-called ‘re-launch’ issue would have two cover choices, featuring either rap’s golden boy Drake and or the more controversial choice Chris Brown. It must be said that whilst the Brown cover is likely to provide more of a talking point, both artists could be considered ‘hot topics’ and are therefore wise choices.
Known for their controversial and indepth cover interviews, VIBE’s print interview with Brown would perhaps have a far greater impact than a feature on Vibe.com alone. Print media is generally more likely to endure and remain relevant; VIBE’s classic 1994 TLC cover interview is a classic example.
A shining example of high-quality music journalism, the memorable piece perfectly captured the personality of Left-Eye and couldn’t help but evoke sympathy for her plight during a time when many were quick to condemn her following the arson incident.
Hopefully by providing the broader focus and a more comprehensive end product, VIBE can revisit its glory days and restore its status as a pionnering and quality urban music magazine. Being oversaturated with ads and with a much reduced circulation, however, sadly it seems unlikely that it will ever achieve the impact it once had.
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