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Vibe magazine closing

Vibe magazine will cease publication, according to a report on the AOL-owned site Daily Finance.

Founded in 1993 by Quincy Jones and Time Warner, Vibe has been a general interest music magazine that covered politics and current events as well as hip-hop and soul. Called by some -- well, Wikipedia -- "the black Rolling Stone," Vibe was bought by the Wicks Group in 2006. Its circulation, reported to advertisers at 818,000 earlier late last year, had fallen to 600,000, the New York Times reports.

Although the magazine had already implemented cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and a four-day work week, staff today were told that its run was over. Editor Danyel Smith sent this sad note to Gawker:

On behalf the VIBE CONTENT staff (the best in this business), it is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today. 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.

Danyel Smith
the former Chief Content Officer VIBE Media Group
& Editor in Chief, VIBE

Gawker speculated that Vibe may have had the most demographically diverse readership of any music magazine. Will those readers find a place to gather -- say, at  the Source or HiphopDX? Or is it more likely that they'll scatter to smaller music venues? Can publishing sustain a general interest music magazine anymore?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Comments () | Archives (27)

The comments to this entry are closed.

"...Vibe may have had the most demographically diverse readership of any music magazine."

Doubt it. One look through the magazine shows that racism still exists, and magazines are used to promote it. It's like a "Where's Waldo" magazine... no other race is allowed between the covers but African American (But you might be able to find one in a cologne ad!).

Maybe if they played to all audiences, and not just the 1 person who likes "'Lil Wayne", they could've survived.

There is NO music magazine available. Rolling Stone, Blender & Spin are like the MTV of magazines, in that they pretend to cover music but don't know how to do so.

Entertainment Weekly is the closest thing to a music magazine you can get. And at least they cover every aspect of entertainment, and not just rap music alone.

Bye Vibe! Your preferential treatment of a certain race can go elsewhere. You won't be missed!

VIBE closed

I've never seen the mag but, the article says it was a "music and political" magazine. Now I am going to go out on a limb here and speculate that it is a liberal magazine. Just another liberal publication going bye bye......bye bye

I never thought it was a diverse magazine, it was 100% catered to the Black community. Maybe if they had more of a mix between Black, Asian, White, Latin, etc....it could of survived. Not gonna miss it.

In regards to:

"Maybe if they played to all audiences, and not just the 1 person who likes "'Lil Wayne", they could've survived."

Then they would be just like every other magazine that pretends to cover every aspect of music equally, yet blatantly ignores the social/cultural dynamic of Hip-Hop/Rap. Sorry, but some of us actually prefer Lil Wayne to the Beastie Boys and/or Eminem, which are the "Hip Hop" artists that seem to be covered the most in non-rap specific media. Besides, you look at Spin and Blender and its a bunch of teenage white boys wearing make-up and crying about girls they never had... Sorry, grew out of that when I was 16.

and in regards to:

"no other race is allowed between the covers but African American"

I hate to break it to you, but not all Black-Americans identify as "African-American." So, referring to everyone in Vibe Magazine as such, is actually pretty damn racist--and ignorant--as well.

Vibe... You will be missed. There isn't another magazine in publication that can fill your absence.

I used to joke about VIBE being mostly ads on all the pages but i did read some very good articles over the years. Sure it was mostly featuring black artists but it was definitely there to make up for the majority white music mags. VIBE will be missed. They should have done a last issue memorializing Michael Jackson. Why not go out in style?

The reason it had mostly black people in it is because it was a magazine that covered mostly hip-hop, soul, and r&b. And the large majority of people who make that kind of music are what? Yes, they're usually black. So it's not as if they were discriminating against anyone. The magazine had no issue representing other races, and sought to try to do more of... but given the content, duh, most of the features would be about black people. But Eminem was just on there last month, and he's far from being black. And if you knew the Vibe staff, and you would see that it's one of the most diverse offices you could ever imagine, you wouldn't be so ignorant to say that no other race was allowed there.

I'm black but stopped reading Vibe on a regular basis some years ago. However the comments from thus far exhibit what's wrong not with Vibe, but with fools in general. There are PLENTY of magazines that only give token attention to minorities so the fact that Vibe focused on African Americans, while covering r&b and hip-hop and its politics (not general politics geniuses) makes perfect sense. And it had a diverse readership because as ALWAYS white kids and young adults who emulate the showier parts of hip hop culture without understanding it still bought the magazine and the albums of all the artists Vibe covers. These are the same people who always water down the black music they patronize. Don't be so naive. And The Source is an inferior substitute. There isn't one. RIP Vibe.

Vibe magazine is just another example of how bad of shape Hip-Hop is in. The music has become tasteless junk. You can't even follow a rapper anymore because they make one club song, and are never heard of again, or their second album is all about how much money they have.

Also, as mentioned above, the magazine only marketed to one demographic. Unfortunately for the magazine, the demographic it serves, on average, doesn't have enough disposable income in this economy to spend $5-7 a month on a magazine full of advertisements.

What am I gonna do with 40 subscriptions to Vibe?

First the Chevy Vibe is no longer being produced, now this? Bad vibes, indeed.

"This racism is killing me!" Amazing how easily it all comes out when people can hide.

Scott, most American magazines cater to White Americans, so what's the real issue with a magazine that caters "100% to blacks". Feeling a little left out?--well that's exactly why this magazine was created. Vibe will be gone for the same reason a lot of familiar things will be; the crappy economy, online reading taking over print materials...and well, this is the only way this connects to all these racist comments, which is that blacks generally do not have the same buying power to largely support products geared towards them. This is why rappers must appeal to white suburban kids to make it.

Here's a lesson to VIBE--you should have SOLD OUT!

VIBE -- who? I didn't know that this magazine existed until I read this article about its demise. I don't think I would have liked it any way, I can't stand hip hop with all its violence and profanity, anyway.

All paper publications like news papers and magazines are going out as Online news sources rise!!

Could it SIMPLY BE that there are just too many magazines in circulation, PERIOD ? There's too much of everything now -- shelter magazines, health and beauty, special interests, and on and on and on. It's an overcrowded marketplace, plain and simple, to me.

I dropped vibe when they started running more and more stories about R & B artist

I started reading vibe for hip hop news and culture, some where along the way vibe lost it's center

I will miss Vibe. The whole magazine industry seems to be hurting these days - it's sad to see such a great brand go!

Leslie - Perfectly stated. I too stopped reading vibe when it became a nice cover with 50 pages of ads. But let’s not forget these magazines were born out of necessity for "our" people. When they refuse to include us we created our own. The problem is in the sell out. Our profitable magazines, cable outlet etc. gets sold to the man and the priorities shift to the bottom line and content is watered down to reach a "broader" audience. Once you've lost your core, coupled with a bad economy, fold your tent. Don’t be surprised by the racist comments. Their pleasure has always been in our demise.

I can remember getting my VIBE magazine in college and being soooooo excited!

VIBE will truly be missed!!!!!

Tom, criticizing magazines for putting white people in it when 80% of the population is white and generalizing the music made by people of that race into a few caricatures is the definition of racism. You should be ashamed of yourself. The same goes to the person who thinks most magazines cater to white people? What? Do people in general not have similar interests regardless of race? And what exactly is token attention? Blacks or African Americans comprise 13% of the population. So if a magazine spends 20% of its time on black artists, is that token or overcoverage? Also, I almost don't want to address Leslie who thinks white people can't understand rap or hip hop because of their skin color. Wow. How intolerant and ignorant can you be? People are so quick to call others racist, but refuse to look at themselves. What was that MJ song about looking in the mirror and making a change?

I think L.A. is the only place where you go about your daily life and at times feel a very "under the surface" underlying racism/elitism. The LAtimes is like a MASK that (SOME i.e. scott, etc.) white people use to voice there hidden racist viewpoints, because THEY WOULD NOT say these things in an open forum or diverse face to face social setting. Im just sick of it quite frankly. These articles just spawn back and forth between (SOME) white people finally having enough balls to spew racist comments. I mean vibe was no big deal until it went down, but when it went down they felt it fitting to kick it going down, but for what?? to feel more critical? Out of all the mainstream white mags out there, here is our 1 of few and we are racist for catering to our own identities?!? Makes me want to be like you (some white people) and start hating back... :)

Isn't the bigger problem that a magazine with 600,000 (albeit down from a far higher number) subscribers can't find a way to stay solvent? The main concern seems to business management more than anything else.

As former Editorial intern at Vibe/Vibe Vixen Magazine, I truly am saddened by the sudden downfall of the magazine. Vibe Magazine has been such a staple in music culture that its hard to see it go. Danyel Smith is an amazing EIC and I know that the staff there, which are of a very diverse variety, worked hard on every issue.

"Maybe if they had more of a mix between Black, Asian, White, Latin, etc....it could of survived"

Have you ever heard of a "niche" magazine? Or what about "target audience"? Well if you havent, its what EVERY magazine goes by and focuses on. So if Blender magazine would have appealed to a more diverse audience other than just Rock, then you must believe that they too would have been able to survive? No, there is a large enough demand in each niche to appeal to a large enough audience to thrive. But with everything in the world going DIGITAL, its kind of hard to keep publication sales up. Advertising follows as well, because now the advertisers are seeking to make their presence on the web. My point......your comment shows a lack of knowledge regarding magazine publishing or even just how a business works!

All in all Vibe will be missed!

And Mike......how ignorant is it to make the claim that the demographic that Vibe mag caters to does not have enough disposable income to afford a magazine?!? Your comment really displays your racist and pompous attitude toward the black community. But if you would have taken the time to think before writing such an unintelligent remark, maybe you would have taken into account all of the years Vibe has been in publication and how much readership it had, indicating that there were PLENTY of people who had the $3 to purchase an issue. If we want to get technical, your demographic usually purchases magazines like Vogue but Im sure the majority of them cant afford the advertised Balenciaga dress their slobbering over so why would they purhcase the mag?

"Also, as mentioned above, the magazine only marketed to one demographic. Unfortunately for the magazine, the demographic it serves, on average, doesn't have enough disposable income in this economy to spend $5-7 a month on a magazine full of advertisements. "
Posted by: Mike | June 30, 2009 at 02:04 PM

....Mike, even if that were true (that we don't have the disposable income), you need to do some research. Magazine Subscriptions account for a small part of a magazine's revenue. The largest portion of revenue comes from advertisements. That is the reason VIBE had so many ads. So, before you try to sound so smart and pull an assessment of the minority demographic out of your butt....do some reading. Otherwise, you just sound ignorant.

The issue with Trench of Naughty By Nature on the Cover is the best ever. That issue was about good conversation. And what was going on in the inner city streets. It was not loaded with tasteless ads. It was about who to really look out for in the way of music, modeling, politics, dance, film. It was not about pimped out cars,rap battles, who has the biggest house, and so on. It was a good Magazine when Quincy Jones was there. I won't miss today's version of Vibe. I will be glad not to see this RAG of a Magazine on the Magazine Stands.

I was a little late on this one. This is quite sad. I did not read Vibe a lot but it was a well known magazine.


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