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It seems the only thing worse than being a record label these days is being a print publication that focuses on music. Spin magazine, a publication devoted to indie music, is trying to cope with the changes in the business that occurred years ago with a major restructuring of its top management. Among the changes, both Doug Brod, editor-in-chief, and Malcolm Campbell, the publisher, are gone. The company has also hired its first digital general manager, Jeff Rogers.
— Steve Kandell, who has served as Deputy Editor, SPIN Magazine, will now be replace Brod as Spin’s EIC. Mark Bautz remains Editor of SPIN.com.
The other executive moves, which reflect a closer integration between print and digital, include:
— Devin Pedzwater, who had worked on the Spin Play iPad app that was released in March, is being promoted to brand creative director, with the additional responsibility of editorial oversight. Charles Aaron, SPIN Magazine’s longtime Music Editor, will now serve as SPIN’s Editorial Director, with responsibility for developing and executing content for both print and digital.
— Mike Albanese has been elevated to publisher for both print and digital. All sales and marketing executives will now report directly to him.
Along with the music industry in general, magazine publishing has been struggling as well. Music fans have been among the first to embrace online and the magazines covering the space have been slow to follow along, especially as sites like Pitchfork and blogs like Gorilla Vs. Bear have emerged.
But lately, the established publications have begun to adjust. But those moves are still gradual. Two years after Wenner Media’s Rolling Stone took back control of its website, it’s still resisting the pull of the iPad (see founder Jann Wenner’s interview with AdAge).
Still, Rolling Stone did quickly replace its first digital head Steven Schwartz, who departed for Reuters (NYSE: TRI), with former Sharecare exec Michael Bloom and also brought back ex-music editor Bill Crandall to run Wenner’s digital content across all publications.
Unlike most magazines, the shrinking of the major music industry represents a distinct challenge to their advertising and subscription base, while the rise of blogs represents a challenge to their relevance. How they face those issues could serve as a model for other magazines that cover rapidly changing areas like tech — either as a success to emulate or, as they have so far, a cautionary warning for what not to do.