Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Media Changes: Vibe Magazine Salaries Slashed, 4-day Work Weeks

According to Folio.com, Vibe Media announced a sweeping series of changes it says will position the company for survival and, allow the brand to salvage its print magazine without layoffs.

Among the changes: Beginning March 1, staffers will be asked to work four days per week, and have their salaries slashed 10 to 15 percent, according to a Vibe spokesperson.

“While numerous other media companies (Time Inc, Condé Nast, Meredith and Hearst) have closed titles completely and laid off staff to cut costs,” the company said. “VMG has taken a smarter and more thoughtful approach to workforce adjustments.”

Vibe will cut its guaranteed rate base 25 percent in July to 600,000 copies (down from 800,000). The monthly magazine is also trimming its frequency to 10 times per year.

The company also plans to launch a-yet-to-be-named “urban celebrity” tabloid in December. That magazine will be published twice-yearly.

Elliot Wilson launches Huffington Post-esque Website with Eminem Manager Paul Rosenberg

According to Dylan Stableford at Folio.com, former XXL editor Elliott Wilson is preparing to launch RapRadar, a Web site he hopes will eventually be a Huffington Post-like destination for hip-hop music fans and, perhaps, a print magazine. First, though, he says, he wants to develop a voice that has been lacking among Web sites that cover rap—that is, something akin to Perez Hilton.

The New York-based site is slated to go live March 9.

When it does, RapRadar will enter a highly-competitive category—with established Web sites including AllHipHop.com, SOHH.com and upstarts like NahRight covering the space alongside MTV, Billboard, the Source and even XXLmag.com, which Wilson launched during his XXL tenure.

“There are a lot of sites out there that do news, and a lot do gossip,” Wilson told FOLIO:. “But not a lot of them can put it into the proper context, where it’s journalism versus pure gossip. I want to raise the bar journalistically. The public is hungry for both.”

Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. “If Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, there’s not really a forum where he can do that right now,” he said. (Wilson’s Soul of a Hustler, an authorized biography of Jay-Z, is scheduled to published in Spring 2010 by Atria/Simon & Schuster.)

The venture is being backed by Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager with whom Wilson launched Makavelliott LLC. “But this isn’t gonna be an Eminem fan site,” Wilson said.

Wilson—whose wife, Danyel Smith, is the editorial director of Vibe—still thinks rap magazines are viable, and is hoping Rap Radar will eventually make its way to print.

“If you’re a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value,” Wilson said. “You are looking at your editorial staff of 10 or 15 people saying, ‘Who are the seven people I can keep and still put out a magazine?’”

Wilson added: “Right now, the goal is to build a brand.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

For those who missed the Zion I record release party last Tuesday at 330 Ritch in San Francisco, it kicked major ass. Pictured are MCs Deuce Eclipse and Zumbi (of Zion I) and me for a STASH magazine shot. If you want to hear one of the best hip-hop albums of 2009, be sure to cop the TakeOver.And, if you want to see one of the best live hip-hop shows ever, check Zion I coming to a town near you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rap Sessions 2009 Coming to a City Near You

Critically-acclaimed author Bakari Kitwana partners with the Harvard University-based think tank The Jamestown Project to announce a national tour that seeks to answer the question, “Is America Really Post-Racial?

Targeting the hip-hop generation that helped build early support for America’s first Black president, these interactive townhall meetings debate the extent to which young Americans have opened a new chapter in American race relations. Beginning in February 2009, Rap Sessions’ community dialogues will convene in ten cities across the United States. Panelists include: Tricia Rose (Brown University Africana Studies professor and author of four books including The Hip-Hop Wars); Jabari Asim (Editor of The NAACP magazine, The Crisis, and author of What Obama Means), Stephanie Robinson, Esq. (president and CEO of The Jamestown Project and author of Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise), MC Serch (host of VH-1 reality shows The White Rapper Show and Miss Rap Supreme) and activist Lisa Fager-Bediako (founder and president of Industry Ears, Inc.).

For more information about Rap Sessions, click here.
18th: Little Rock, AR
23rd: Knoxville, TN

13th: Boston, MA
24th: Cleveland, OH
31st: Anchorage, AK

10th: Auburn, AL
15th: Champaign, IL
16th Chicago, IL
17th: Minneapolis, MN
22nd: Los Angeles, CA

The Grouch and Eligh Release "Say G&E" this April

Legendary Music is getting ready to release The Grouch and Eligh's SAY G&E! On the 14-track collection, The Grouch teams up once again with fellow Living Legends member and producer, Eligh, for a perfect balance of straightforward wordplay and high-concept rhymes. The duo’s third collaboration, SAY G&E!, features notable guests: Slug of Atmosphere, Pigeon John, Gift of Gab, Mistah F.A.B., Sage Francis, Mystic, and LA’s latest sensation, Blu, along with guest beat production from Flying Lotus, super-producer Rick Rock, and Zion I’s Amp Live, who’s received major blogospheric activity for his Radiohead guerilla remix project.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oakland's Zion I Hold Remix Contest

As part of their plan to takeover the airwaves in 2009, the Oakland duo Zion I invite heads to create a new version of the electro-inspired track, "DJ DJ," from their February album The TakeOver. The contest uses an innovative new widget from MixMatchMusic that gives fans access to the stems, or individual parts that make up “DJ DJ." What's more, MixMatch Music provides a basic production interface with remixing software built right in so you can remix within your own browser. You can even embed favorite versions on various social networks. Upload the track to the widget and vote. And then tell your friends to vote!

Zion I will choose three of their favorite remixes for a variety of prizes including placement of the song on their website, merchandise, autographed CDs, etc.

"The MixMatchMusic technology is dope," explains Zumbi, Zion I's emcee. "The best part is that we can interact with fans now in a way we never could before."

Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2009. Register at MixMatchMusic.com