The founder of Spin, Bob Guccione Jr., is returning to the music magazine brand after 23 years, in the role of creative advisor.
Next Management Partners, a digital media investment firm run by CEO Jimmy Hutcheson, purchased Spin from Billboard - The Hollywood Reporter Media Group in January.
Guccione founded Spin in 1985. He sold the magazine in 1997 for $43.5 million. The print publication ended in 2012.
This year marks Spin’s 35th anniversary.
In his new “hands on” role at Spin, Guccione will work closely with editorial and executive teams to expand coverage beyond music news and into entertainment, social and political topics, as well as investigative reporting, as the magazine once did.
“We covered the culture,” Guccione told Publishers Daily. Readers have “a million interests and concerns and we reflected that… to show we understand the reader is a holistic, full person.”
Guccione will work with managing editor Daniel Kohn, who oversees an editorial staff of about two dozen at Spin.
He will help advise the team, bring story ideas and writers to Spin, and provide ideas for growth and extensions for the brand.
“The previous owners deserted it,” Guccione said. “It became a vineyard that went fallow. One that should make great wine, but doesn’t.”
When asked why he was returning, Guccione, who also founded and currently oversees travel digital publication Wonderlust, said he “loves the idea of going back in there and being a cat among the pigeons.”
Spin “needs to be part of setting the conversation, not just following it, and now it will again,” he said.
Hutcheson believes Guccione “created such an iconic brand with Spin… especially through the '80s and '90s. Spin became wildly successful and really went head to head with Rolling Stone.” He hopes Guccione can help “restore Spin to its former glory.”
"We are bringing back a lot of that irreverent attitude we had,” Guccione added.
It’s a unique combination: Guccione’s prowess in magazine building, and Hutcheson’s background in the ad tech, digital business world.
Since Next Management Partners acquired Spin, its online audience has grown 67%.
“We’ve got an incredible IP library to harness — and Bob is helping us find those gems,” Hutcheson said.
This will open up licensing opportunities for the company.Spin articles could be turned into shows for other platforms, for example. “Eat, Pray, Love” best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert cut her teeth at Spin. The book was later adapted into a movie.
The aim is to reach a young, modern audience while also continuing to serve Spin's core audience, which might have grown up with the magazine.
That means bringing the brand to new platforms, such as a channel on Roku, or a retail store that sells music records and apparel, Hutcheson said.
Under new ownership this year, Spin’s Instagram account has grown by 20%.
Its new Instagram Live series “Lullaby Sessions” features artists such as John Doe, Andrew McMahon, Alec Benjamin and Shawn Colvin singing lullabies to kids.
Spin has featured music artists with large Instagram followings on its digital covers as well, and curated playlists on Spotify.
The brand now has a Twitch channel.
It also recently signed a deal with Revolt, the multiplatform hip-hop content brand owned by entrepreneur and artist Sean “Diddy” Combs, to handle sponsorships and specialized content integrations.
Spin entered a partnership with Yahoo! last month. Its articles have been featured on the Yahoo! homepage six times since.
“Some of the bigger portals are taking notice of the quality of our content,” Hutcheson said.