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VIBE Magazine Goes Under

According to reports, VIBE, one of the nation’s top urban music magazines, is shutting its doors.

The rumors began early this afternoon, and were just confirmed when a spokeswoman for the magazine made a formal announcement that the VIBE staff would be notified about the magazine’s closing in an all-company meeting at 2 pm.

The news came as a shock to many, as the magazine has been in print for 16 years and enjoyed a loyal readership, however the Wicks Group, which bought VIBE in 2006, reduced its circulation and cut salaries and hours in February in an effort to save funds.

In a formal statement to the staff, Steve Aaron, CEO of Vibe Media Group said they struggled to recapitalize the company for months in vain, seeking “to restructure the huge debt on our small company.”

“The print advertising collapse hit Vibe hard,” Aaron said. “Key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or gone out of business.”

“It is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today,” said Danyel Smith, Editor in Chief of Vibe. “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.”

VIBE was founded in 1993 by legendary producer/music mogul Quincy Jones. Its departure leaves XXL and the Source as the top urban music magazines, both of which have experienced tremendous turnover, salary cuts and financial problems.

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