Update: Vibe Folds, Quincy Jones Wants It Back

By Steve Smith
06/30/2009

Sixteen-year-young urban music title Vibe confirms to minonline that the magazine is folding.

An internal memo to staff from Vibe Media Group ceo Steve Aaron states: “It is with a heavy heart that I share some tough news, VMG is closing down effective today, June 30 due to lack of additional financial investments.”

The memo goes on to cite the collapse of the capital markets, the slump in print advertising and the ongoing recession as contributors to the closure.

Aaron, the former Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S./American Media Inc. executive who led Vibe since June 2007, subsequently told min that "we were on our way to becoming financially solvent in 2008 until the confluence of events struck. We worked hard to buttress the Wicks Group’s July 2006 investment, but we could not overcome the economy and restructure our debt. Wicks’ support was terrific."

VIBE.COM, with tributes to the late Michael Jackson, was online Tuesday as the print version shut down. Aaron says that the site’s future is "to be determined."

Music impresario Quincy Jones, who helped found the magazine in 1993, told EbonyJet last evening that he is planning to buy back the brand and exploit the growing Web site opportunity. Jones told the site in a phone interview from London, “They just messed my magazine all up, but I’m gonna get it back. You better believe it, I’m’a take it online because print and all that stuff is over.”

Vibe launched in 1993 as a joint venture between Time Inc. and the legendary composer/producer Jones. The magazine, which made founding president Keith Clinkscales (now ESPN corporate senior vp/content development and enterprises) a star, first changed hands in 1998 under Bob Miller’s Vibe/Spin Group before the Wicks investment eight years later.