Tuesday, June 30, 2009


VIBE has closed its doors....


Vibe magazine, the urban glossy founded in 1992 by legendary producer Quincy Jones, announced on Tuesday (June 30) that the publication is folding and will no longer produce print issues or publish its Web site, Vibe.com.

With the closing of the title, effective immediately, there now remains no large circulation print publication dedicated to covering hip-hop, R&B and fashion on a mainstream level.

"On behalf of the VIBE CONTENT staff, it is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today," current editor-in-chief Danyel Smith said in a statement. "We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news. It's a tragic week overall, but as the doors of VIBE Media Group close, on the eve of the magazine's 16th 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."

Like most magazines, Vibe has struggled in recent years to transition into the digital realm, as readers flock to the Internet for information. Vibe recently redesigned its Web and print properties. The magazine also began publishing in a smaller format and made the decision to remove album reviews from the title and include the section online only. In addition, a tabloid-like spin-off called The Most was scheduled to be introduced into the market place.

But due to declining readership, the recession, a weakened music industry and a faltering ad market, the magazine could no longer endure a high amount of debt as an independent publishing company, said Vibe Media Group CEO Steve Aaron in remarks sent to the staff.

When the magazine was founded in the early '90s, the upstart title was positioned as a sexier alternative to The Source, at the time the leading publication in hip-hop circles. The magazine then went on to break many barriers — under Wilbekin's tenure as editor, it won an American Society of Magazine Editors award — and reshaped the definition of an urban magazine.

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