Music mag Vibe is folding, according to internal memos issued to the staff on Tuesday by editor in chief Danyel Smith and Steve Aaron, former CEO of the Vibe Media Group.
“It is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today,” wrote Smith. “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 the 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 continue to love the Vibe brand.”
Quincy Jones, the producer behind Jackson’s best-selling LPs “Off the Wall” and “Thriller,” founded the magazine with Time Warner in 1992. Like other music publications that have closed shop recently — a list that includes Blender, Radio and Records and Performing Songwriter — Vibe suffered from a steep drop in print advertising, having announced in February that it would cut its rate base from 800,000 to 600,000.
In his memo, Aaron also cited the lack of investments sources need to keep the enterprise afloat.
“The deal market right now remains very poor and at the end of the day, the lack of investment resources to restructure the huge debt load on our small company has made this outcome a reality,” he wrote.