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magazine shuts down suddenly; Quincy Jones announces plans to buy it
back By Adrienne Samuels Gibbs EbonyJet.com (June 30, 2009) Vibe magazine founder Quincy Jones is distraught
over the news that the famous hip-hop publication shuttered its doors
today. Though no longer the owner, he did not anticipate this sudden
demise, and he says he's going to bring it back to life – albeit in a
slightly different way.
"I'm trying to buy my magazine back now," Jones told EbonyJet.com just
moments ago during a telephone call to Jones' London abode. "They just
messed my magazine all up, but I'm gonna get it back. You better believe
it, I'm gonna take it online because print and all that stuff is over."
Jones created Vibe in 1993. It soon became the voice of urban youth,
showcasing hip-hop and R&B artists in a way that older, more staid
publications would not. Many described Vibe as a black Rolling Stone,
but perhaps bigger. Amongst the publication's famous covers were those
featuring hip hop giants placing hip hop giants 2pac and the Notorious
B.I.G. The magazine's last cover featured Eminem.
Vibe was purchased by Wicks Media Group in 2006. In February of this
year staff were told they would have slashed salaries, a four-day
workday and that the company would only publish 10 issues in 2010 in
order to save money. But that wasn't enough. At around 2 p.m. CST, the
Internet flooded with news, care of gawker.com, that the company was
folding. Moments later, according to Gawker, Vibe editor-in-chief Danyel
Smith issued the following statement: 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"
No one answered phones at Vibe's offices on Tuesday afternoon, but the
mag's most recent Twitter said only: "Thanks for everything." Jones
said he was proud of the magazine that fell to its demise mostly due to
the economic recession that cut the advertising budgets of companies
that normally advertised with magazines.
Vibe is only the latest magazine to encounter such problems. Nickelodeon
Magazine and King have closed in addition to music industry magazine
Radio and Records.
The shutdown has caused a massive reaction amongst both hip hop artists
and journalists. Vibe former president, Kenard Gibbs, says the magazine
helped usher in an era of accessible hip hop. It also mainstreamed and
legitimized hip hop journalists and the artists that they covered.
"I really got a chance to be at the helm when it was at its peak in
terms of readership and most importantly [at the peak of its] financial
wherewithal," said Gibbs. "I'm not surprised but certainly saddened to
see that something that had emerged as a very important voice for young
people and music enthusiasts and hip hop culture [is] silenced. I think
it's important to note that a place like Vibe for 16 years was an
incredible proving ground for people of color who wanted to get into
publishing or the media business."
Gibbs, who was the group publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines and
president of Ebony/Jet Entertainment Group is currently the owner of the
entire Soul Train catalogue. He left Vibe around the time that Wicks
Media Group purchased the magazine. Here's his take, in layman's terms,
of what happened there today.
"Unfortunately, you'll probably see other ethnic publications with
similar fates in this economic environment," he said. "It speaks to
advertisers shifting away from print because because consumer behaviors
have changed and consumers are embracing online. And you have this
happening when you have people buying fewer magazine subscriptions and
with the state of music being what it is. "He goes on: "All of that, for
a magazine whose editorial soul is based in music made it a difficult
environment for its financial structure. When you acquire a company it's
like buying a house and having a mortgage and your mortgage is a
variable rate mortgage. So you have to make sure you have enough income
to pay your mortgage. It wasn't able to meet its debt obligation so the
holder of the debt took it over like a bank takes over your foreclosed
Jones says that all publications must figure out how to live online.
That's where he's going to take Vibe once he recovers from the death of
his friend and protégé Michael Jackson.
"We gotta get into the 21st century you know," Jones said. " "Print and
all that stuff is over, we gotta remember that. The Chicago Tribune, The
Seattle Post Intelligencer. The Miami Herald. They're over the same way
as the record business. We have got to get into this century."
While Jones sees an online-only presence as the future of VIBE, the
magazine's Web site was already robust and, according to its CEO,
profitable. Industry analysts say that without the burden of paying for
the printed page, there might be a digital opportunity for VIBE if the
brand's name and archives could be bought without having to assume the
Adrienne Samuels Gibbs is a senior editor for Ebony magazine. Find
her on twitter at AdrienneWrites.
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Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture
By Erin O. Patten
Hip-Hop culture has had a profound impact on marketing in the past two
decades and it provided an intersection for brands, sports, and popular
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Influence--Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop
Adam Graves, senior vice president of Deutsch Advertising says of Under
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