Friday, July 7th, 2006

Vibe Sold; Staff Fired; Danyel Is Back

OK, and I’m late on this of course–cause I was in surgery, OK?–but this finally explains a lot of emails I’ve been getting over the last month.

Vibe was sold last Friday to an investment group backed by Wicks Media, apparently a mysterious German company that happens to own some TV stations in North Dakota and Minnesota. More info here on the sale.

Mimi Valdes was fired, taking much of the editorial staff with her, including many friends. But they also brought back the great Danyel Smith, whose once must-read naked cartwheels blog has now morphed into an Japanese product advertising thing run by some guy named Roman, which might be kinda symbolic of hip-hop as a whole. Not clear what moves Danyel is gonna make next–we still want your third novel! someone had to say that–but it’ll be interesting.

The investment group includes the folks who do BlackBook Media. Reports say they want to take the magazine more upmarket. With Danyel coming in, that could mean an older, wealthier audience, a change in the sub base from something that’s been largely 18-to-30 driven. This would mean a shift in advertisers to more upscale brands, and of course, more expensive ads. Or, given her from-The-Town, grassroots-loving steez, maybe not. Or maybe both.

As an aside, lots of us aging hip-hop journalists, good backs or not, have been hoping for years for a magazine that would cater to a 30-to-45 market, a market that the indy-backed Tracks tried to fill on the more Spin oriented side and failed at doing. But something that was also more political, topical, investigative, and not merely celebrity or commodity-driven. In other words, something that was more life than lifestyle. We can’t be sure if this is what Vibe will become. We’ll just have to trust our girl.

All this now makes Danyel and Elliott the Mary Matalin and James Carville of hip-hop journalism! Rumor mill has it that they are adopting soon.

Clyde’s take, including a link to the Wicks Group…
Jimi Izrael’s fine context and analysis, except I’m not worthy. Thanks to Lynne for the links.
-And there was always Bittervibes, comments and all. (For the record, I don’t miss Crispus Attucks, but I look, just like anyone else.)
-7/11: Advertising Age reports that the firings continune

posted by @ 12:36 pm | 1 Comment

One Response to “Vibe Sold; Staff Fired; Danyel Is Back”

  1. Hummingbyrd says:

    given her from-The-Town, grassroots-loving steez, maybe not. Or maybe both.
    Maybe both.

    I am trying to live that ISH OUT right now!

    Go Jeff. I peeped you in NY Mag repping Grafitti.

    Do ya’ thing!

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