Spin (magazine)

Last updated

Spin Magazine Cover.png
Kurt Cobain, his wife Courtney Love, and their daughter Frances on Spin, December 1992.
Editor Matt Medved
Total circulation459,586 [1]
Year founded1985;34 years ago (1985)
Final issueSeptember/October 2012 (print)
Company Valence Media
Country United States
Based in New York City, New York, U.S.
Website spin.com
ISSN 0886-3032

Spin is an American music magazine founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. The magazine stopped running in print in 2012 and currently runs as a webzine, [2] owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group division of Valence Media.

A music magazine is a magazine dedicated to music and music culture. Such magazines typically include music news, interviews, photo shoots, essays, record reviews, concert reviews and occasionally have a covermount with recorded music.

An online magazine is a magazine published on the Internet, through bulletin board systems and other forms of public computer networks. One of the first magazines to convert from a print magazine format to being online only was the computer magazine Datamation. Some online magazines distributed through the World Wide Web call themselves webzines. An ezine is a more specialized term appropriately used for small magazines and newsletters distributed by any electronic method, for example, by electronic mail. Some social groups may use the terms cyberzine and hyperzine when referring to electronically distributed resources. Similarly, some online magazines may refer to themselves as "electronic magazines" or "e-magazines" to reflect their readership demographics or to capture alternative terms and spellings in online searches.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.



Spin was established in 1985. [3] In its early years, the magazine was known for its broad music coverage with an emphasis on college rock, grunge, indie rock, and the ongoing emergence of hip-hop. The magazine was eclectic and bold, if sometimes haphazard. It pointedly provided a national alternative to Rolling Stone's more establishment-oriented style. Spin prominently placed newer artists such as R.E.M., Prince, Run-D.M.C., Eurythmics, Beastie Boys, and Talking Heads on its covers and did lengthy features on established figures such as Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Miles Davis, Aerosmith, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and John Lee Hooker [4] Bart Bull's article on Hooker won the magazine its first major award.[ citation needed ]

College rock was the alternative rock music played on student-run university and college campus radio stations located in the United States and Canada in the 1980s. The stations' playlists were often created by students who avoided the mainstream rock played on commercial radio stations.

Grunge is a rock music genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and the region's underground music scene. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock. As grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream in the 1990s, it came to be used to identify those acts that retained an outsider and underground perspective. In the 2000s, as a result of changes in the music industry and the growing importance of the Internet, some indie rock acts began to enjoy commercial success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.

On a cultural level, the magazine devoted significant coverage to punk, alternative country, electronica, reggae and world music, experimental rock, jazz of the most adventurous sort, burgeoning underground music scenes, and a variety of fringe styles. Artists such as the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, X, Black Flag, and the former members of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the early punk and New Wave movements were heavily featured in Spin's editorial mix. Spin's extensive coverage of hip-hop music and culture, especially that of contributing editor John Leland, was notable at the time.[ citation needed ]

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Alternative country, or alternative country rock is a loosely defined subgenre of country music and rock music, which includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream country music and pop country music. Alternative country artists are often influenced by alternative rock. However, the term has been used to describe country music bands and artists that have incorporated influences from alternative rock, indie rock, roots rock, bluegrass, neotraditional country, punk rock, rockabilly, punkabilly, honky-tonk, outlaw country, folk rock, indie folk, folk revival, hard rock, R&B, country rock, heartland rock, and Southern rock.

Electronica encompasses a broad group of electronic-based styles such as techno, house, ambient, jungle and other electronic music styles intended not just for dancing.

Editorial contributions by musical and cultural figures included Lydia Lunch, Henry Rollins, David Lee Roth and Dwight Yoakam. The magazine also reported on cities such as Austin, Texas, or Glasgow, Scotland, as cultural incubators in the independent music scene. A 1990 article on the contemporary country blues scene brought R. L. Burnside to national attention for the first time.[ citation needed ] Coverage of American cartoonists, Japanese manga, monster trucks, the AIDS crisis, outsider artists, Twin Peaks , and other non-mainstream cultural phenomena distinguished the magazine's dynamic early years.[ citation needed ]

Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker. Her career was spawned by the New York no wave scene.

Henry Rollins American singer-songwriter

Henry Lawrence Garfield, better known as Henry Rollins, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, presenter, comedian, and activist. He currently hosts a weekly radio show on KCRW, is a regular columnist for Rolling Stone Australia, and was a regular columnist for LA Weekly.

David Lee Roth American singer

David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, musician, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. Roth is best known as the original (1974–1985) and current (2006–present) lead singer of hard rock band Van Halen. He is also known as a successful solo artist, releasing numerous RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum albums. After more than two decades apart, Roth re-joined Van Halen in 2006 for a North American tour that became the highest grossing in the band's history and one of the highest grossing of that year. In 2012, Roth and Van Halen released the comeback album A Different Kind of Truth. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. Roth possesses a vocal range of five octaves and three notes.

In late 1987, publisher Bob Guccione Jr.'s father, Bob Guccione Sr., abruptly shut the magazine down despite the fact that the two-year-old magazine was widely considered a success, with a newsstand circulation of 150,000.[ citation needed ] Guccione Jr. was able to rally much of his staff, partner with former MTV president and David H. Horowitz, locate additional new investors and offices and after missing a month's publication, returned with a combined November–December issue. During this time, it was published by Camouflage Associates. In 1997, Guccione sold Spin to Miller Publishing.[ citation needed ]

Bob Guccione American publisher, businessman and art collector

Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini Guccione was an American photographer and the founder of the adult magazine Penthouse in 1965. This was aimed at competing with Hugh Hefner's Playboy, but with more extreme erotic content, a special style of soft-focus photography, and in-depth reporting of government corruption scandals. By 1982 Guccione was listed in the Forbes 400 wealth list, and owned one of the biggest mansions in Manhattan. However, he made some extravagant investments that failed, and the growth of free online pornography in the 1990s greatly diminished his market. In 2003, Guccione's publishers filed for bankruptcy and he resigned as chairman.

In 1994, two journalists working for the magazine were killed by a landmine while reporting on the Bosnian War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A third, William T. Vollmann, was injured.

In the 1994 roadside attack on Spin magazine journalists on May Day during the Bosnian War, two journalists, Bryan Brinton and Francis William Tomasic, were killed by a landmine, and journalist and novelist William T. Vollmann was injured near Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnian War international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Following a number of violent incidents in early 1992, the war is commonly viewed as having started on 6 April 1992. The war ended on 14 December 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia, which were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia, respectively.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Republic in Southeast Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.

Later years

In February 2006, Miller Publishing sold the magazine to a San Francisco-based company called the McEvoy Group LLC, which was also the owner of Chronicle Books. [5] That company formed Spin Media LLC as a holding company. The new owners replaced editor-in-chief (since 2002) Sia Michel with Andy Pemberton, a former editor at Blender . The first issue to be published under his brief command was the July 2006 issue—sent to the printer in May 2006—which featured Beyoncé on the cover. Pemberton and Spin parted ways the next month, in June 2006. The following editor, Doug Brod, was executive editor during Michel's tenure.[ citation needed ]

For Spin's 20th anniversary, it published a book chronicling the prior two decades in music. The book has essays on grunge, Britpop, and emo, among other genres of music, as well as pieces on musical acts including Marilyn Manson, Tupac Shakur, R.E.M., Nirvana, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, and the Smashing Pumpkins. In February 2012, Spin relaunched the magazine in a larger, bi-monthly format and expanded its online presence, which covered reviews, extended editorials, interviews, and features on up-and-coming talent.[ citation needed ]

In July 2012, Spin was sold to Buzzmedia, which eventually renamed itself SpinMedia. [6] The September/October 2012 issue of Spin was the magazine's last print edition. [7]

In December 2016, Eldridge Industries acquired SpinMedia via the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group for an undisclosed amount. [8] In 2018, Matt Medved became editor.

Spin Alternative Record Guide

In 1995, Spin produced its first book, entitled Spin Alternative Record Guide. [9] It compiled writings by 64 music critics on recording artists and bands relevant to the alternative music movement, with each artist's entry featuring their discography and albums reviewed and rated a score between one and ten. [10] According to Pitchfork Media's Matthew Perpetua, the book featured "the best and brightest writers of the 80s and 90s, many of whom started off in zines but have since become major figures in music criticism," including Rob Sheffield, Byron Coley, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, and Alex Ross. Although the book was not a sales success, "it inspired a disproportionate number of young readers to pursue music criticism." [11] After the book was published, its entry on 1960s folk artist John Fahey, written by Byron Coley, helped renew interest in Fahey's music, leading to interest from record labels and the alternative music scene. [12]


Contributors to Spin have included:

Year-end lists

SPIN began compiling year-end lists in 1990.

Single of the Year

1994 Beck "Loser"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1995 Moby "Feeling So Real"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1996 Fugees "Ready or Not"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1997 The Notorious B.I.G. "Hypnotize"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1998 Fatboy Slim "The Rockafeller Skank"Flag of England.svg  England
1999 TLC "No Scrubs"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2000 Eminem "The Real Slim Shady"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2001 Missy Elliott "Get Ur Freak On"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2002 Eminem "Cleanin' Out My Closet"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2003 50 Cent "In da Club"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2004 Green Day "American Idiot"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2005 Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc."Flag of England.svg  England
2006 Gnarls Barkley "Crazy"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2007 Kanye West "Stronger"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2008 M.I.A. "Paper Planes"Flag of England.svg  England
2009 Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Zero"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2010 CeeLo Green "Fuck You"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2011 Adele "Rolling in the Deep"Flag of England.svg  England
2012 GOOD Music "Mercy"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2013 Daft Punk "Get Lucky"Flag of France.svg  France
2014 Future Islands "Seasons (Waiting on You)"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2015 Justin Bieber "What Do You Mean?"Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
2016 Rae Sremmurd "Black Beatles"Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2017 Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos "Slide"Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
2018 Valee and Jeremih "Womp Womp"Flag of the United States.svg  United States

Album of the Year

1990 Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1991 Teenage Fanclub Bandwagonesque Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1992 Pavement Slanted and Enchanted Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1993 Liz Phair Exile in Guyville Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1994 Hole Live Through This Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1995 Moby Everything is Wrong Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1996 Beck Odelay Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1997 Cornershop When I Was Born for the 7th Time Flag of England.svg  England
1998 Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Flag of the United States.svg  United States
1999 Nine Inch Nails The Fragile Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2000 Radiohead Kid A Flag of England.svg  England [13]
2001 System of a Down Toxicity Flag of the United States.svg  United States [14]
2002 The White Stripes White Blood Cells Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2003 Elephant
2004 Kanye West The College Dropout Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2005 Late Registration
2006 TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2007 Against Me! New Wave Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2009 Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2011 Fucked Up David Comes to Life Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2013 Kanye West Yeezus Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2014 The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly Flag of the United States.svg  United States [46]
2016 Solange Knowles A Seat at the Table Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2017 Kendrick Lamar Damn. Flag of the United States.svg  United States
2018 The 1975 A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships Flag of England.svg  England

Note: The 2000 album of the year was awarded to "your hard drive", acknowledging the impact that filesharing had on the music listening experience in 2000. [13] Kid A was listed as number 2, the highest ranking given to an actual album.

See also

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