Billboard Hires a Bunch of Lifestyle Editors, West Coast Editor Leaves…

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Billboard has been drifting away from its role as a trade publication.

Under the direction of Janice Min the magazine is shifting its focus towards attracting a general audience.

This means more articles about celebrities and lifestyle topics.

All of this has led to a lot of  hirings and firings over the past few months, a trend that continues. Billboard has fittingly just hired a bunch of people from Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and more.

The publication recently added a fashion editor to their ranks, hiring Tasha Green. She was previously men’s style editor at Wall Street Journal and also contributed to WSJ’s Off Duty section and magazine.

Billboard is also adding a culture editor, bringing in Degen Pener from The Hollywood Reporter. Pener is responsible for adding fashion, luxury, real estate, automotive, beauty, and art coverage to The Hollywood Reporter’s scope.

Eileen Daspin has been added as a lifestyle / business journalist and magazine editor. She has previously been an editor at ThomsonReuters, Time, W, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and American LawyerFrank DiGiacomo joins Billboard from Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor. Carson Griffith comes from New York Daily News, where she was a gossip columnist and senior editor.

In the art and photo departments:

Rob Hewitt is the new design director, coming from Conde Nast Traveler. Frank Augugliaro is now art director, coming from Esquire. Carrie Lam joins as designer, she previously worked at Nick+Cambell and freelanced for Glamour, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and W. Samantha Xu is the new photo editor, previously working at Hearst Digital, Guitar World, Revolver and Entertainment Weekly.

With all these hirings, who is being pushed out of Billboard now?

Mitchell Peters is leaving, after serving as west coast editor for eight years. 

Designers Andrew Horton and Andrew Ryan are also leaving the company after their “tireless work” on the Billboard redesign.

9 Responses

  1. Danwriter

    Billboard had been betting its future on music business 1.0 and seemed willing to go down with that ship. Min’s changes simply reflect the reality of how music (and its business) have become part of the larger lifestyle industry. Mourn for a moment, then move on. If Billboard becomes a venue through which to sell Rolex and Prada, so be it. They sure haven’t been selling much else lately.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Your comment about ‘music business 1.0’ is right: it really seems like Billboard has been doggedly committed to publishing a newspaper for the Titanic deck partiers.

      You could say the SS Billboard is shifting course, but it feels more like this vessel keeps steering in circles. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that ‘Mad Dog’ Richard Beckman took over from Conde Nast and vowed to make Billboard into a high-premium glossy that catered to celebrities and aspirational readers while selling Prada and Gucci ads?

      I got the sense that the last editor, Bill Werde, had some ideas right but never ultimately got out of that ‘1.0’ box. And part of the reason is that it’s hard to get shouted down every morning by the old guard; breaking up with legacy is hard to do.

      • Hoodgrown

        Not trying to be an asshole… I just want to pick your brain a little. If you were to take over Billboard, what changes would you make to it?

        • Paul Resnikoff

          That’s not an asshole question at all. Very long answer really short: I’d make it smaller. I wouldn’t go mainstream with it, I wouldn’t try to make it a consumer-facing publication while leveraging the big name. I’d make it less music industry 1.0 and a lot more music industry 3.0. I wouldn’t be afraid of pissing off corner office CEOs at major labels. I wouldn’t be afraid of pissing off readers. Something like that.

          • visitor

            Bill Werde is out and anti-artist rights NPR intern Emily White is in… what else is there to say?

          • Hoodgrown

            The reason I ask is that when Billboard eventually dies (which I honestly think it will once this transition is completed), someone is going to have to fill that void…

  2. Robert Levine

    First, let me confess my bias: I’m the former executive editor of Billboard, where I worked from mid-2008 to the end of 2009. (I left to move to Berlin and write a book.)

    I can’t comment on the various shifts the magazine has made since I left: I wasn’t there and, because I live in Europe, I wasn’t always paying attention. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that Billboard was publishing a magazine for those dancing on a sinking ship – at least since Bill Werde got there. There’s plenty of digital coverage, as well as reporting on other important areas of the business, from concerts to publishing, that. And there are some great journalists there, including Glenn Peoples and Ed Christman, who have forgotten more about the music business than most reporters know.

    Indeed, the fact that you cover Billboard seems to suggest the magazine is still relevant.

  3. Danwriter

    I wrote for Billboard regularly through the 1990s and into the 2000s, focused mainly on the technology of music production and distribution. (When Paul Verna, another of Billboard’s better alumni, was editing those departments.) That coverage was curtailed and eventually dropped, as part of cost-cutting measures. But, in my opinion, that parting did tend to somewhat dissociate the magazine from the underlying technological processes that were at the heart of changes that were going on with the larger music industry. But that was likely a very small part of larger issues the magazine faced. Billboard remains a great brand — it’s 120 years old this year and it managed to navigate its way through a lot of industry changes that its competitors didn’t. (Remember Cashbox? Record World?) And now that brand is going to get used the same way that Frank Sinatra’s legacy is now being licensed to sell Jack Daniels. Good? Bad? In the eye of the beholder.

  4. Chris Pfaff

    “I dropped my Billboard subscription two years ago. I could not stand the move toward a warmed-over lifestyle publication. It was sad to see (for me, the kiss of death was when they got rid of the Pro Audio and Studio columns…).”