"On the cover of ya VIBE, XXL and Sources..."

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Rapper: This is Hua.
Rapper's mother: Hello there, Hua.
Rapper's aunt: Hi.
Rapper: So this is where I grew up.
Rapper's aunt: Hey, aren't you doing an interview today with Vibe?
Rapper: Yeah, this is him, I'm showing him around the block.
Rapper's aunt (to me): Oh! You're Vibe! So are we vibin' now!? We're VIBIN'!

* * *

Jeff posts a fascinating roundtable (all done on Twitter? How ironic...) with Alan Light and Raymond Roker about the future of magazine publishing and the death of VIBE Magazine. Some highlights:

Jeff Chang: I could live with a smaller media landscape-but we need that middle between 1m+ circulation mags and circs of less-than-100,000 zines back.

(...)

Alan Light at 1:35pm June 30

no more, no less - we're all out here together. but you isolated the exact right issue, in all types of media. you can be mega or you can be niche, but very difficult to play in between. magazines, movies, music...all the same drill.

Jeff Chang at 1:54pm June 30
Yes. How do we get it back? My first gut instinct is stronger anti-trust enforcement, but that's just one side of it. Plus how does one begin to reverse consolidation? After all it's a global thing. I worry we come out of the depression and the big are still bigger and still stepping on or casting long shadows over the seeds of the new stuff. You all have any ideas?

(...)

Raymond Leon Roker at 12:25pm July 1
We embrace the new. Don't lament too much on the past. There will always be old media support groups and once URB's archive site goes live, you can relive the rave scene virtually ;)

But today, it's about social media, shared content, multiple distribution channels and creative financing.

As someone who used to write a zine--circulation: "nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine thousand short of a mil"--I found this conversation to be smart, nuanced and occasionally inspiring. I encourage anyone interested in the future of print to check it out. For some reason, I can't see the word "middle" and not think Pearl Buck.

I'll have more to say on the sad death of VIBE in the coming days.

* * *

TOTALLY unrelated (via Harmon): "Emails from an Asshole"

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Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.
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