Is SPIN really circling the drain?

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The magazine has been especially bad in the past two years; is this finally it? (and yeah, the pun is intended for that starf*cking rag)

Spin Scratched ... The Finer Things in Life ...

SCRATCHED: Is this Spin’s last stand? The music magazine’s transformation into the fanzine of the Seventies rock-redux movement has done nothing to slow its three-year slide in ad pages, and chairman Robert Miller has apparently had enough. Vibe/Spin Ventures chief executive officer Alex Mironovich, who had been acting publisher, and Spin associate publisher Michael Zivyak both resigned under pressure Monday and Miller, who is based in Los Angeles, appears ready to get his hands dirty selling ads himself.

Miller, a former Time Inc. executive, will be joined by former Budget Travel publisher Jacob Hill, who certainly has experience doing more with less.

“This could just be a last ditch effort by management,” said a source close to the magazine. “The thinking is: ‘Let’s give them a respectable ad sales team and try to turn things around a little bit.’”

But then what? Miller is under intense pressure himself from his backers at the venture capital firm Freeman Spogli to show some sort of return on the $100 million it gave him in the mid-Nineties to build what is now Miller Publishing. He bought the company’s crown jewel, Vibe, from Time Inc. in 1996 for just $20 million, but forked over $42.5 million for Bob Guccione Jr.’s Spin a year later. He nearly had to give them up just two years after that, when Freeman Spogli forced him to put the pair on the block for around $200 million. There were no takers then, but Miller flirted with selling again in late 2000, when the future dot.com flameout Urban Box Office came calling. The potential price tag then was said to be just over $100 million. what would the pair be worth now?

While Vibe has held steady since then on the advertising front, resisting up-and-comers like The Source and XXL, Spin has slowly been crushed by the twin pincers of Rolling Stone and Dennis Publishing’s upstart Blender, which actually finished 2003 with more pages (673) than Spin (661). Keep in mind the latter finished 2000 with 1,211 pages, when editor Alan Light and publisher John Rollins were still at the helm. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall for the sector, they left together in early 2002 to start the older listener-skewing music magazine Tracks, which launched last fall. — Greg Lindsay

source:
http://www.wwd.com/content/article.cfm?ID=%25%22%2DD%22RE%20%20%0A&xart=1&CFID=28460&CFTOKEN=88223667

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

as a charter subscriber, I'd hate to see it go.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

spin's been a very mixed bag lately, but they do have some things I like....like where an artist picks their most influential CDs....occaissionaly there is still an article I'm really glad I read...like the one of Morrissey's latino fans or the roadie one the the last issue...I hope it stays in business....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:47 (10 years ago) Permalink

I can't remember the last time I bought an issue of SPIN.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Thursday, 26 February 2004 02:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

Their reviews section is horrible. They used to be more harsh towards certain things. Like Matt said, there's a few things it has going for it, but it's worse than it's ever been.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:09 (10 years ago) Permalink

I think it's time they let me take it over. I've got a great idea for a T.A.T.U. cover.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

I could make that magazine cool and hip with my hands tied behind my back! Shit, now I've given away my T.A.T.U. cover idea.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

They should make an all-T.A.T.U. special issue with Hit Parader-style posters included.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Getting paid to write = not being able to write.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:23 (10 years ago) Permalink

hey Chris last time you and I went about, you were telling me how P*tchfork was getting ready to pimp themselves with some massive web presence. What's up with that?

SPIN's pimping of the Strokes has been totally embarrassing. I mean, does anyone at that place actually believe, as a sub-head read, that "Room On Fire" was "stunning"?

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:41 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yep, Chris. You're right. That's exactly what that means. Perhaps there should be zero standards in journalism, and those standards should be reduced even further by allowing anyone with a computer to destroy the English language in print. While we're at it, let's never pay an artist for their work since, by making a simple leap like yours, they must not be talented if they're getting paid for it. I know David Blaine is a publicity whore, so maybe we can get him to shit in a bucket for free and call it art. Since it's free and all.

another scott, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:46 (10 years ago) Permalink

I'd actually say the writing in SPIN is very good. It's just that the editorial direction has been abysmal--driven by the bean counters or what, I dunno, but it's been adrift for awhile.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

Spin has become so insular in the last two years. I think it lost itself up the ass of NYC and the White Stripes. It's more about the editors stroking their ego and pimping their presence in NYC than trying to reach an audience. The design has become restrictive and overbearing, it almost overshadows the stories. The magazine has alienated its audience. No wonder it's not doing well.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:51 (10 years ago) Permalink

I actually like Chuck Klosterman, he's really the only writer in Spin who has anything remotely interesting to say (even though he's often full of shit).

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:55 (10 years ago) Permalink

I would give him his own sports column if I were in charge. Only minor league hockey and baseball though. And indoor soccer. And lacrosse.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:57 (10 years ago) Permalink

I think he's a good writer, too, though I agree he's full of shit sometimes. But how can you not be when writing for Spin? It just happens. It would happen at Rolling Stone, Blender, whatever. Part of the job. I just think that he suffers the same dreaded image disease they all get when thrust into the NY scene, which I think is unfortunate about so many magazines these days.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 04:59 (10 years ago) Permalink

It is sad. They are all scared of their own shadows.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

I mean if you are gonna lose money anyway, why not make your magazine really good?

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

Does anyone have George Soro's phone number? I've got a proposition for him.(he likes russian teenagers, right?)

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:04 (10 years ago) Permalink

But what would make it good? Good in terms of reaching an audience while simultaneously pushing the boudaries created by current glossies? Or good meaning finding a niche and a genuinely passionate voice, even if it means obeying certain publishing conventions?

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

Chuckie has a page in Esquire now, where he can write about whatever he wants. He's written about basketball there (or maybe it was GQ.)

The only reason I hang onto my subscription is because I keep hoping it will get better. But it's just not.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if a non-fashion magazine has a fashion spread multiple times a year, the moral compass is long gone.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

Wait a sec...I know these are people who could lose their jobs, so I don't mean to sound callous. No one wants anyone to lose their jobs or livelihood.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:08 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but you almost HAVE to have a fashion spread. No clothing companies will look at you for ad space until you do. It's the way of the game. Lame? Yes. Part of publishing? Unfortunatley.

Helen, Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:09 (10 years ago) Permalink

My comment was more about Scott's "they are all scared of their own shadows" watering-down, not a grammatical or stylistic complaint.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

What music magazines are good these days? I have no idea.

Debito (Debito), Thursday, 26 February 2004 05:42 (10 years ago) Permalink

I find the idea that it's "gotten" insular in the last two years sort of mystifying, if only because the typical non-music-geek complaing about Spin is that it's ALWAYS been insular. I mean, five years ago they were writing about turntablism and sound-boys, stuff that, for better or worse, is WAY more insular than rock bands with hooks and attractive frontpeople.

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

I'm not arguing insularity Andy, they're ambulance-chasing. And driving on the left.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:29 (10 years ago) Permalink

What's wrong with driving on the left? And I have to say I have no problem with music magazines subsidising their music section with fashion spreads (and the resulting ads), as long as the music section is unaffected. Better that than downgrading your music section by talking about inconsequential musicians in a trite way to bring in a broader audience.

Jedmond (Jedmond), Thursday, 26 February 2004 07:44 (10 years ago) Permalink

I can't understand Chris Ott's posts on this thread at all.

Except he doesn't like brits?

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Thursday, 26 February 2004 10:11 (10 years ago) Permalink

SPIN used to be way more New York-ish, with more of a snobby attitude, sort of this subversive nature and snarky editorial that was more SPY than Rolling Stone. I miss that aspect; as SPIN has drifted more and more towards the mainstream, it has lost its sense of identity and verve. Without cheerleading the Strokes and the White Stripes on every issue, they'd barely be hip at all. And that feature where the artist names their influencial albums was a concept blatantly lifted from Blender. The elephant in the room here is that Blender is eating SPIN alive.

I fully understand that embracing "lifestyle" brings in the big advertising dollars (fashion), but in this case it has made the magazine much less enjoyable.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Not-as-good-as-it-used-to-be it may be, but give me Spin over Rolling Stone ANY DAY of the week. You?

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

OTM

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

True, but you can say that about any magazine, give me O over Rolling Stone any day of the week.

Jedmond (Jedmond), Thursday, 26 February 2004 14:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

I prefer Rolling Stone. Music coverage is equally bad in both, but Rolling Stone occasionally has interesting political features.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 26 February 2004 14:39 (10 years ago) Permalink

Magazines suck.

Jasper Patches (Dating Ikea), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i agree about R.S. Rollong Stone's non-music reporting/coverage has always been its strong suit.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but seeing features on Toby Keith and DMB is just too depressing..

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

SPIN used to have some really great pieces in the back of the magazine about non-music stuff that were real eye-openers. I haven't seen any good ones lately. What irks me is how the staff has turned itself into celebrity figurines. I read the magazine thinking, "I feel too uncool to be reading this shit." And I'm a frickin writer. I imagine it's incredibly off-putting for some kid in her bedroom.

Jeanne Fury (Jeanne Fury), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:14 (10 years ago) Permalink

Remember when Spin had like 10 features about how HIV and AIDS were not causally related? This was late 80s.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:27 (10 years ago) Permalink

Last time I read Spin, Guccione Jr was still at the helm, pimping John Mellencamp. So I guess Hank Rollins and Legs McNeil don't write for 'em anymore either?

I feel old.

doug watson (solid air), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:32 (10 years ago) Permalink

Well, they still have non-music features, like... "Friendster more addictive than crack!!!"

Baaderist (Fabfunk), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:35 (10 years ago) Permalink

Celia Farber's AIDS coverage was overall pretty impressive, especially considering the venue.

I agree with you Jeanne that the staff thing is getting annoying; Sia Michel's Letter From the Editor has been completely cloying from minute one (complete with all the "Look at me, I'm at the cool places with the cool people pictures") and the endless pimping of staff tomes is a chore. Spitz' gossip column is unbearable. But I still like the reviews quite a bit.

don weiner, Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:35 (10 years ago) Permalink

SPIN needs to be put out of its misery. It hasn't mattered since about 1988.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

I think it's been even longer than that...

Jasper Patches (Dating Ikea), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:41 (10 years ago) Permalink

what did Sia Michel do before Spin? I had never heard of her until i saw her picture in Spin.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:55 (10 years ago) Permalink

She was a receptionist somewhere.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:56 (10 years ago) Permalink

Once SPIN lost Legs McNeil and John Leland it was all over (though I still like Klosterman).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:57 (10 years ago) Permalink

man, Spin hasn't mattered since 1972 when I was reading it

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (10 years ago) Permalink

Don, all "letter from the editor" pieces in any given magazine are like that. It's sort of the purpose. But I know what you mean. The mag feels like a big Friendster publication or something.

Jeanne Fury (Jeanne Fury), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (10 years ago) Permalink

really? and then she became the editor in chief of Spin? cool.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 26 February 2004 15:58 (10 years ago) Permalink

had no idea videogum was good

flopson, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 01:20 (2 months ago) Permalink

no j0rdan s. hyperbole thread gabe's "worst movie of all time" posts is some of the best/funniest writing in the history of blogging

http://www.videogum.com/category/the-hunt-for-the-worst-movie-of-all-time

le goon (J0rdan S.), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 01:22 (2 months ago) Permalink

omg, ballount post just collapsed and condensed years of reading rockcrit and then ilx into a black hole.

epic on many levels.

People aged 30+ (or older?, wtf) can't help but to view SPIN through a nostalgia lens.

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 12:32 (2 months ago) Permalink

videogum was funny the few times i looked at it but it was definitely like "this ain't bad, shame it's called 'videogum'"

scott c-word (some dude), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 12:35 (2 months ago) Permalink

I remember seeing videogum every so often in my rss feeds and being very impressed how it never watered down its voice. (its voice being a slightly more high-key version of the standard blog voice, but even that is harder than one might think to pull off on a consistent basis.)

katherine, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 17:57 (2 months ago) Permalink

I noticed I still haven't gotten my Daily SPIN email today....

an enormous bolus of flatulence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 17:58 (2 months ago) Permalink

Are Whiney and Harvilla still there?
from that Post link:
Short consumer-engagement time on many of the 40 sites in the Spin network was always a problem, suggesting viewers were popping into many of the sites briefly, spending less than 90 seconds before exiting.

The network includes sites such as Celebuzz, The Superficial, Buzznet and Go Fug Yourself. The company had two major downsizings of staff in 2013, and as the editorial staffs were slashed, traffic began to erode as well. By November, it had fallen to around 26 million unique visitors on all platforms, down from 34 million in March.

Strang said the company currently has about 165 employees. He said the sale of the assets to the new firm did not involve any new layoffs, but added, “We’re constantly trying to be at the right size.”

dow, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 18:39 (2 months ago) Permalink

Wow there are (were?) some dreadful websites operating under that umbrella

Evan R, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:09 (2 months ago) Permalink

Go Fug Yourself?

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:12 (2 months ago) Permalink

Just visited that. Credit them for committing themselves to their atrocious branding: They work some variation of "fug" into nearly every headline

Evan R, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:14 (2 months ago) Permalink

Obv. fans of The Naked and The Dead and The Fugs; yay.

dow, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:17 (2 months ago) Permalink

and grant morrison's seaguy!

balls, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:24 (2 months ago) Permalink

Are Whiney and Harvilla still there?

whiney is not still there

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:59 (2 months ago) Permalink

Sorry, unless you prefer it that way now.

dow, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:02 (2 months ago) Permalink

read the ny post story and then take a wild guess if i'm feeling bad about jumping ship

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:05 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I read it; that's what I fuggered. cheerz

dow, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:09 (2 months ago) Permalink

videogum with gabe at its peak was the funniest web site on the internet and i think he (and silvestri etc) have had a big influence on the sense of humor and style of blogging

― le goon (J0rdan S.), Monday, February 3, 2014 7:04 PM (Yesterday)

i haven't read vgum in YEARS but i just tried to read that post announcing the move or whatever and shuddered at the voice that girl was taking. maybe i'd hate it from gabe too these days, i don't know

k3vin k., Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:41 (2 months ago) Permalink

nah she's not good

polyphonic, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:45 (2 months ago) Permalink

if this is it for Spin, you gotta give it credit, it took this thread almost exactly 10 years to come true

scott c-word (some dude), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

xp yeah it's that "whoops I dropped my thought... ANYWAY" style of writing, which pervades a lot of those junk Spin Media sites. Nothing wrong with it on a blog (or a forum) or whatever, but no sympathy for the investors just now realizing they aren't going to get rich off of it

Evan R, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:49 (2 months ago) Permalink

no i think there's a lot wrong with adults writing that way anywhere

k3vin k., Tuesday, 4 February 2014 20:50 (2 months ago) Permalink

Short consumer-engagement time on many of the 40 sites in the Spin network was always a problem, suggesting viewers were popping into many of the sites briefly, spending less than 90 seconds before exiting.

In the case of Spin, this might be because after loading, all non-slideshow pieces would redirect to the home page, and all slideshow listicles would only reload the first slide.

(In my work browser)

(D1CK$) (sic), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 21:08 (2 months ago) Permalink

lol can u imagine

flopson, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 21:09 (2 months ago) Permalink

if this is it for Spin, you gotta give it credit, it took this thread almost exactly 10 years to come true

could be the moron who originated it

Pale Smiley Face (dandydonweiner), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 22:12 (2 months ago) Permalink

if somebody just lost their job I think they get a pass on writing style for the day

katherine, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 22:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

Miss dash snowden

, Wednesday, 5 February 2014 00:51 (2 months ago) Permalink

dash snowden was a lady? a single lady? ::straightens tie::

scott c-word (some dude), Wednesday, 5 February 2014 01:40 (2 months ago) Permalink

Back off, buster. I saw her first

, Wednesday, 5 February 2014 01:45 (2 months ago) Permalink

Go Fug Yourself?

― christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:12 (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Just visited that. Credit them for committing themselves to their atrocious branding: They work some variation of "fug" into nearly every headline

― Evan R, Tuesday, 4 February 2014 19:14 (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

my partner used to love go fug yourself, though i've not heard her mention it in a lnog while

the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music (stevie), Wednesday, 5 February 2014 10:49 (2 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

guilty lol @ "Aswad"

"Jiggle It" - 2 in a Zoo (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 28 March 2014 21:28 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Wow, Jem Aswad has been around forever. When I went to my first CMJ Convention back in 1989, he was a panellist working for Dutch East India Trading Company, I think!

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Friday, 28 March 2014 22:19 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

i always thought he was a chick named jen

sorry bro

j., Friday, 28 March 2014 22:21 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

not surprising for reasons that have nothing to do with jem, who is a good dude

le goon (J0rdan S.), Saturday, 29 March 2014 04:22 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Knowing SPIN's state these days, you could have stopped after the first two words.

Herbie Handcock (Murgatroid), Saturday, 29 March 2014 04:27 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

well yeah

le goon (J0rdan S.), Saturday, 29 March 2014 06:03 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

DON: Hey, that's my line.

some dude, Saturday, 29 March 2014 12:41 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

GLENN: Never mind, Henley. Fuckin' pencil necks.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 29 March 2014 12:44 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

happy tenth anniversary to this thread

maura, Sunday, 30 March 2014 00:40 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

belated

maura, Sunday, 30 March 2014 00:40 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Slow motion drain-circling in the Internet Age.

MV, Monday, 31 March 2014 03:14 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

but, yeah, jem is a completely good dude.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 31 March 2014 03:45 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

http://bandwidth.wamu.org/what-does-this-thievery-corporation-review-mean/

http://www.spin.com/#reviews/thievery-corporation-saudade/

April Fools’ Day joke? Elaborate pan? It’s unclear, at least to me. The review by Spin contributor Garrett Kamps, dated April 1, ostensibly sets out to assess the new long-player from D.C.’s Thievery Corporation, which came out on the same day. What it does instead is copy text from the Wikipedia page for “sushi.”

curmudgeon, Thursday, 3 April 2014 18:48 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

shoulda saved that gag for a neneh cherry review

We hugged with no names exchanged (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 3 April 2014 18:50 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

honestly though, the copy editor didn't even fix the links
http://www.spin.com/wiki/Daikon

We hugged with no names exchanged (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 3 April 2014 18:52 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

lol "the copy editor"

le goon (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 3 April 2014 19:50 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

fair enough

We hugged with no names exchanged (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 3 April 2014 20:02 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

"Asphalt can be used to cover cobblestones. It can be taken home (if no one is lookin'). Asphalt should not be confused with, with, with, with . . . asbestos. Confuse them at your own risk. Insects will sometimes live in cement but never asphalt. Asphalt soup tastes like tar. Asphalt soap does not clean especially well. Asphalt dopes are QUITE dopey. They know nothing of asphalt (having never seen it); some live in Alaska." And now, here, the subject matter is simply gone, erased; it's not even a point to be walked away from. The screen, camera, page is blank, and Meltzer is just writing. How does it feel to be on your own?

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Friday, 4 April 2014 05:12 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

"Asphalt dopes are QUITE dopey. They know nothing of asphalt (having never seen it); some live in Alaska." This can be connected to his (70s, 80s?) point about "Xerox rock," where we get copies of copies of copies, graying out, as time goes by.

dow, Friday, 4 April 2014 17:15 (2 weeks ago) Permalink


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