Damn, another music mag...gone. Yesterday afternoon it was announced that Vibe Magazine was officially closing it's doors, stopping it's presses and going the way of the 8-track. This extinct outlet for Hip Hop and R&B is now survived by only two major magazines of it's kind: XXL and The Source (whose had it's own battles with bankruptcy in the last year).
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Quincy Jones founded Vibe in 1993 along with Time Warner and focused its content on music news in the realm of Hip Hop (well, mostly Top 40), R&B and Soul as well as a slice of politics and general black culture. It was later purchased in 2006 by The Wicks Group, a private entity firm. Was it the most balanced and diverse magazine? Meh. The most well-written? Yeah it was okay. Will it be missed by you people in the bloggosphere? Probably not. But the fact is that Vibe and other publications of it's elk carried an important role in the emergence of Hip Hop culture, offering a tangible documentation to people around the country for almost two decades.
In it's final years, Vibe pretty much followed the same narrative as any doomed publication: readership drops, ad sales drop, doors close. The NY Times reported that the magazine's circulation between February and July 2009 went from 818,000 to 600,000. And as for all those car company ads they depended on, well, I think we all know where they went. Today, Reuters reports rumblings of Quincy Jones buying back the mag and turning it into an online only publication, but with fresh blood still puddling under Vibe's corpse, that remains to be seen. However, its nice to know that Jone's perception of the future of print is no less damning than everyone else.
But aside from the business aspect of all this, I wonder: Are any of you even buying Hip Hop magazines anymore? How about music magazines in general? Are they still relevant to to people that love and consume music in the modern age? Should they all just fold and or go online? I'm sure a few Editor-in Chiefs would like to hear from you.