Hang on to those back issues of Vibe, folks. As of today, they're officially collectors items. As reported by Daily Finance, the New York Times, and RapRadar, Vibe is ceasing publication effective June 30. According to a letter from Vibe CEO Steve Aaron, the magazine is shutting down because of the following factors: “the collapse of the capital markets” (translation: we're in debt big-time); “the print advertising collapse” (translation: fashion companies and car manufacturers don't have huge ad budgets anymore); and the “relentless economic situation” (translation: most folks these days would rather buy a $5 dollar footlong at Subway than a glossy mag with minimal nutritional value).
That means no more Hamptons-meets-the-hood fashion shoots with sexy models wearing gear the average hip-hop head can't afford; no more proclamations of the Best Rapper Ever; and no more cover shots of Christina Milian naked.
Allhiphop.com has this sad quote from former EIC Danyel Smith: “”We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news.” However, the move couldn't have been completely unexpected– revenue had been flagging and circulation had dropped by about 200,000 since 2006, when Vibe was bought by AOL subsidiary Wicks Publishing..
Though Vibe had moved far from the edgy content it once boasted–remember the Tupac-in-a-strait-jacket cover?–it's loss will be felt. During the last presidential election, Vibe took a stand on hip-hop politics by putting Barack Obama on the cover, and occasionally, amidst the fluff, found time to present thoughtful articles. And though Vibe has had its share of controversial articles–many blamed them for fanning the East Coast/West Coast beef to sell more magazines in 1996-97–they definitely added a glamorous yet urban cachet to newsstands, which may not be replaced anytime soon.