Billboard parent company Valence Media has made editorial layoffs at Spin, Stereogum, and Vibe.
Per an article posted on Billboard, seven employees were let go from the listed magazines’ teams. The article cited a “pivot in business and content strategy” as the reason for the dismissals.
Collectively, the trio of publications belong to Valence Media’s Spin Media Group. Valence’s Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group oversees the Spin Media division.
Given that Billboard and the affected companies are owned by Valence Media, it appears that those with knowledge of the situation are intentionally remaining tight-lipped. However, it seems highly likely that these changes are part of an effort to restrategize and enhance the brands’ digital presences.
Spin was first published in 1985, and in 2012, its final (physical) issue was released; the publication has since been published online. Stereogum launched in 2002 and has always been an online-only media outlet. Lastly, Vibe debuted in 1993, ceased production in 2009, was purchased and restarted, and became an online-only publication in 2014.
Spin and Vibe were once highly-successful print-based brands, though neither is dominant or heavily influential online. That could be provoking some financial soul-searching, with broader cuts designed to slim down operations and create leaner editorial staffs. In January of this year, 22 other employees were laid off from Valence Media.
Other once-powerful media brands are also suffering.
In August, for example, it was revealed that MTV’s Video Music Awards attracted an all-time-low number of viewers for the third consecutive year; the event featured live performances from Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and Shawn Mendes.
Others are attempting to straddle print and online formats, with limited success. Rolling Stone, for example, has continued to publish its print version, but this long-held practice seems dependent upon the ability of the magazine to secure exclusive interviews and photo shoots with big-name celebrities. And it’s unclear how Rolling Stone‘s print-based financials are performing.
Additionally, Rolling Stone does not limit its focus to music. To this point in 2019, broadcaster Howard Stern, Game of Thrones actresses Sophie Turner and Masie Williams, and even U.S. Representatives, have appeared on the monthly magazine’s covers.
Elsewhere, Billboard itself still maintains a print version, though circulation is understood to be low and geared towards industry readers.