'Spin' Goes Digital-Only, Music Mags Hit Sour Note
It isn’t a very cheery holiday season for the consumer magazine business, with yet another big title closing as the year draws to an end. Music mag Spin announced a few days ago that it will cease publication after 27 years of documenting the alternative, indie, and emerging music scenes.
The magazine, which was recently acquired by Buzz Media, will continue to operate
digital properties, including its Web site, Spin.com, Spin Play for iPad and Spin mobile.
Like other music titles, Spin was hit hard by the rapid shift to Internet media consumption, especially among the young adults who typically dominate the audience for music mags.
Over the course of the last decade, ad pages gradually declined from 661 in 2003 to 378 in 2011, a 43% drop, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. More recently, ad pages plunged another 40% from 287 in the first nine months of 2011 to 171 in the first nine months of 2012.
On the circulation front, in the six months ending December 2011 (the most recent period for which data is available) Spin had a total circulation of nearly 460,000 down 15%
from 540,901 in the same period of 2005, according to the Alliance of Audited Media, formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Buzz Media had previously announced that Spin wouldn’t be publishing an issue for November-December 2012, making the previous (September-October 2012) issue its last. In a strange twist, print subscribers who don’t want to refund their subscriptions are being offered issues of Car and Driver.
Indeed, there aren’t many rivals left that could substitute for Spin, following the closing of multiple music titles in recent years, although many still publish online. Blender was closed by Alpha Media in March 2009; hip-hop “bible” Vibe closed in June 2009, although it was subsequently revived. Paste shuttered its print edition in September 2010.
Category founder Rolling Stone is still chugging along after some revamps, including a shift to a smaller trim size in October 2008. But like other music titles, RS is finding it rough going: Ad pages fell 11.9% to 618 in the first nine months of 2012, per the PIB.