Commentary

Media Publisher Sells Off 'Spin,' 'Stereogum'

The publisher of Billboard and The Hollywood Reportersold music publications Spin and Stereogum, three years after buying them along with hip-hop title Vibe.
Considering how many times Spin has changed hands over the years, it's remarkable the title still endures in some form.
While Stereogum was started as a music blog, Spin and Vibe were launched as print magazines. However, they have mostly existed as websites since the early 2010s. Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group, which is owned by Valence Media, is holding onto Vibe.
Private-equity firm Next Management Partners bought Spin, while Stereogum was sold back to Scott Lapatine, its founder-editor in chief.
Next CEO Jimmy Hutcheson stated his firm is "excited to invest in the future success of Spin."  He also said the company will soon announce its growth plan, along with additional hires and investments.
Spin's website could use the investment, given that its editorial offering is skimpy. In announcing the deal, former owner Valence said Spin's web traffic has grown more than 40% in the past year amid a rebranding effort. It's hard to evaluate that growth without seeing real traffic numbers.
The difficulty for music publications is reaching a younger audience that now connects directly with their favorite artists through social media, while generally shunning other media platforms.
While radio is still a significant way to discover new music, streaming platforms like Spotify have become more popular — and they have algorithms and editors to recommend music based on listening habits.
Bob Guccione Jr. founded Spin magazine in 1985 with help from his father, whose General Media published Penthouse. After splitting off from the company, the younger Guccione ran Spin until 1997, when he sold the title for $43.5 million to Miller Publishing Group, a partnership that published hip-hop music magazine Vibe. The titles changed hands again before Billboard's owner acquired them in 2016.

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