Billboard.biz broke the news Friday that Spin had a round of layoffs and a later report by The New York Times said 11 employees were let go—a third of the staff. Among those that were shown the door were editor-in-chief Steve Kandell and managing editor Catherine Davis.
Kandell had just taken over as editor-in-chief after a promotion in June 2011.
Spin was acquired three weeks ago by Buzzmedia, an online media company and network of pop culture, entertainment and music sites and the future of the print magazine was immediately called into question.
Buzzmedia tells the NYT the company is still "committed to moving
forward with print," but in the meantime has canceled plans for a
Buzzmedia has remained vague about print plans since the acquisition, but CEO Tyler Goldman did warn in an interview with Folio: that changes to the management team were on the way. However, editorial, he said, was one area that was pegged for more investment. "That’s something we expect to invest in more," he said. "We believe in the key leadership here on the editorial side."
The music magazine category has had a particularly challenging time navigating the digital world, but Spin had made some aggressive moves recently by launching a highly regarded tablet app and overhauling its website. It also reduced its frequency to bimonthly in March, dropping rate base from 450,000 to 350,000 and plowed some of that cost savings back into print with an upgraded trim size and paper grade.
Update: According to a statement from Goldman, while 11 staff were let go, plans are still in place to double the edit team that remains. How this will shake out across print, which Goldman says is still in the cards, and digital remains to be seen. However, Goldman does hint at an archive product.
Goldman’s statement: As part of BUZZMEDIA’s acquisition of SPIN, we have been evaluating our integration plan in conjunction with our efforts to enhance and grow SPIN’s offerings and audience. As part of these integration efforts, we have made some formal changes to the SPIN staff, which impact the Editor in Chief/Magazine, Steve Kandell; Managing Editor, Catherine Davis; and nine others.
We are retaining a powerful SPIN team of 25. Specifically, Charles Aaron, who leads editorial efforts across all of SPIN, will continue in his role as Editorial Director. In the coming year, we will build upon this core staff by doubling the editorial team. This investment will enable us to continue enhancing SPIN’s offerings, which includes making the SPIN archive, an incredibly important part of music history, much more accessible.
BUZZMEDIA and SPIN are committed to moving forward with print, but we are still determining exactly how print fits in with SPIN’s multiple distribution points and growth initiatives. While we are early in this process, we have concluded that SPIN’s print offering will change after the September/October issue and we will not publish a November/December issue. SPIN will continue to be led by a strong staff with deep experience in both digital and print. We look forward to sharing what the print offering will be going forward.