Spin (magazine)

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.

Spin Magazine Cover
Kurt Cobain, his wife Courtney Love, and their daughter Frances on Spin, December 1992.
EditorMatt Medved
Total circulation459,586[1]
Year founded1985
Final issueSeptember/October 2012 (print)
CompanyValence Media
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City, New York


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.

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.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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]

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

Year Artist Song Nation Source
1994 Beck "Loser"  United States [1]
1995 Moby "Feeling So Real"  United States [2]
1996 Fugees "Ready or Not"  United States [3]
1997 The Notorious B.I.G. "Hypnotize"  United States [4]
1998 Fatboy Slim "The Rockafeller Skank"  England [5]
1999 TLC "No Scrubs"  United States [6]
2000 Eminem "The Real Slim Shady"  United States [7]
2001 Missy Elliott "Get Ur Freak On"  United States [8]
2002 Eminem "Cleanin' Out My Closet"  United States [9]
2003 50 Cent "In da Club"  United States [10]
2004 Green Day "American Idiot"  United States [11]
2005 Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc."  England [12]
2006 Gnarls Barkley "Crazy"  United States [13]
2007 Kanye West "Stronger"  United States [14]
2008 M.I.A. "Paper Planes"  England [15]
2009 Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Zero"  United States [16]
2010 CeeLo Green "Fuck You"  United States [17]
2011 Adele "Rolling in the Deep"  England [18]
2012 GOOD Music "Mercy"  United States [19]
2013 Daft Punk "Get Lucky"  France [20]
2014 Future Islands "Seasons (Waiting on You)"  United States [21]
2015 Justin Bieber "What Do You Mean?"  Canada [22]
2016 Rae Sremmurd "Black Beatles"  United States [23]
2017 Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos "Slide"  Scotland [24]
2018 Valee and Jeremih "Womp Womp"  United States [25]

Album of the Year

Year Artist Album Nation Source
1990 Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted  United States [26]
1991 Teenage Fanclub Bandwagonesque  Scotland [27]
1992 Pavement Slanted and Enchanted  United States [28]
1993 Liz Phair Exile in Guyville  United States [29]
1994 Hole Live Through This  United States [30]
1995 Moby Everything is Wrong  United States [31]
1996 Beck Odelay  United States [32]
1997 Cornershop When I Was Born for the 7th Time  England [33]
1998 Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill  United States [34]
1999 Nine Inch Nails The Fragile  United States [35]
2000 Radiohead Kid A  England [13]
2001 System of a Down Toxicity  United States [14]
2002 The White Stripes White Blood Cells  United States [36]
2003 Elephant [37]
2004 Kanye West The College Dropout  United States [38]
2005 Late Registration [39]
2006 TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain  United States [40]
2007 Against Me! New Wave  United States [41]
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science  United States [42]
2009 Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion  United States [43]
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  United States [44]
2011 Fucked Up David Comes to Life  Canada [45]
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange  United States [46]
2013 Kanye West Yeezus  United States [47]
2014 The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream  United States [48]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly  United States [46]
2016 Solange Knowles A Seat at the Table  United States [49]
2017 Kendrick Lamar Damn.  United States [50]
2018 The 1975 A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships  England [51]

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



  1. ^ "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  2. ^ Chris Welch (December 10, 2012). "Publishers bring 195 new magazines to print in 2012 despite ongoing digital push". The Verge. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Christopher Zara (December 22, 2012). "In Memoriam: Magazines We Lost In 2012". International Business Times. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Bull, Bart (April 2006). "Messin' with the Hook". Spin. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  5. ^ George Raine (March 1, 2006). "S.F. group buys 20-year-old rock music magazine Spin". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  6. ^ "Spin Magazine Is Sold to Buzzmedia, With Plans to Expand Online Reach By Ben Sisario July 10, 2012 7:43 am".
  7. ^ "The Daily Swarm". Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  8. ^ "Billboard Buys Spin and Vibe in a Quest to 'Own the Topic of Music Online'". Adweek. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  9. ^ Johnston 2007.
  10. ^ Anon. 2012, p. 313; Mazmanian 1995, p. 70
  11. ^ Perpetua 2011.
  12. ^ Ratliff 1997.
  13. ^ a b Spin, January 2001.
  14. ^ spencerkaufman (September 4, 2011). "10 Things You Didn't Know About 'Toxicity'". Loudwire. Retrieved May 7, 2016.


External links

1994 roadside attack on Spin magazine journalists

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.

Bob Guccione Jr.

Robert Charles Guccione Jr. (born September 19, 1955) is the eldest son of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. He founded the music magazine Spin.

Charles Aaron

Charles Aaron is a U.S. music journalist and editor, formerly for Spin magazine, where he worked for 23 years.

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is a San Francisco-based American publisher of books for adults and children.

The company was established in 1967 by Phelps Dewey, an executive with Chronicle Publishing Company, then-publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1999 it was bought by Nion McEvoy, great-grandson of M. H. de Young, founder of the Chronicle, from other family members who were selling off the company's assets. At the time Chronicle Books had a staff of 130 and published 300 books per year, with a catalog of more than 1,000 books.

In 2000 McEvoy set up the McEvoy Group as a holding company. In 2006 the McEvoy Group purchased Spin magazine in connection with the owners of San Francisco's 7x7 magazine and California Home+Design. McEvoy sold off the magazines by 2014.

Dave Itzkoff

David L. Itzkoff (born March 2, 1976) is an American journalist and writer who is currently the culture reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of Cocaine's Son, a memoir about growing up with his drug-abusing father. Before joining the Times, he was an associate editor at Spin magazine and Maxim.

Divine Fits

Divine Fits is an American/Canadian indie rock band composed of Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner, Sam Brown, and Alex Fischel.

Hey America

"Hey America" is a Christmas song recorded by James Brown. It appeared on his 1970 Christmas album of the same name. It was released as a single that failed to chart in the United States, but reached #47 on the UK Singles Chart in 1971.Spin magazine characterizes the song as "a churning, overwrought orchestral groove, over which JB apparently improvises a totally incoherent rant about Christmas, peace protesters, God, partying, and (tellingly) wine."

Howard Greenhalgh

Howard Greenhalgh is a British director of music videos and advertising.Greenhalgh studied at the Royal College of Art, setting up the firm Why Not after graduating. He came to prominence in the early 1990s with his direction of the music video for the Snap! song "Rhythm is a Dancer". Greenhalgh then was hired by the Pet Shop Boys to direct videos for their successful album Very and later its follow-up Bilingual. His work has also included the video for George Michael's song 'Jesus To A Child', several videos for Muse, Soundgarden and others.His videos for Very make extensive and early use of computer animation and blue screen to create environments of geometric shapes and patterns in which the group members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are inserted. Lowe said in retrospect that he felt that computer games had a strong appeal to a young audience and that copying their design styles could be successful: "The big game was Sonic The Hedgehog and I liked this game where the audience, when a goal was scored, all started dancing. I was playing computer games a lot, thinking, 'This is what the kids are into…wouldn’t it be great if we became this thing removed from reality and existing in a non-real world?'" Spin magazine described these videos as "routinely rejected" by MTV, a reference to their rock-oriented programming at the time. His clip for the song "Liberation" was later reused in the 2000 animation anthology CyberWorld. He later directed the video of Soundgarden's song 'Black Hole Sun', attracting attention in the United States; in 1995, Spin magazine awarded him a reader's choice award for best video for this.Describing his approach to music video direction, Greenhalgh said in a 2010 interview that "With anything, it’s the lyrics that are everything. You pray that there are good lyrics in a track because that leads you immediately to what you’re going to do."

Industrial dance

Industrial dance music is a North American alternative term for electronic body music and electro-industrial music. Fans who are associated with this music scene, refer to themselves as rivetheads.

In general, "industrial dance" is characterized by its "electronic beats, symphonic keyboard lines, pile-driver rhythms, angst-ridden or sampled vocals, and cyberpunk imagery".Since the mid-1980s, the term "industrial dance" has been used to describe the music of Cabaret Voltaire (early 1980s), early Die Krupps, Portion Control, The Neon Judgement, Clock DVA, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Front 242, Ministry, KMFDM, Yeht Mae, Meat Beat Manifesto, Manufacture, Nine Inch Nails, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Leæther Strip or early Spahn Ranch.In March 1989, Spin Magazine presented an one-paged article about the industrial dance movement in Canada and the U.S.

John Leland (journalist)

John Leland (born 1959) is an author and has been a journalist for The New York Times since 2000. Leland began covering retirement and religion in January, 2004. During a stint in 1994, he was editor in chief of Details magazine. Leland was also a senior editor at Newsweek, an editor and columnist at Spin magazine, and a reviewer for Trouser Press.Leland wrote Hip: The History and Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think). In 2018, his book Happiness is a Choice You Make was released.

King Louie (rapper)

Louis King Johnson, Jr. (born December 27, 1987), better known by his stage name King Louie, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. Spin Magazine attributed King Louie as being one of the Chicago rappers who made Chicago the "hottest hip-hop" scene in 2012.


Newermind: A Tribute to Nirvana is a 2011 celebratory tribute album, created by SPIN Magazine, for the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's album Nevermind. The bands that covered each song on the album were inspired by Nirvana to pursue a musical career, with special mentions to Meat Puppets and The Vaselines who had inspired Kurt Cobain. The album was originally released for free download on July 19, 2011.

Purplish Rain

Purplish Rain is a compilation of Prince covers released by Spin magazine for readers of its July 2009 issue. The album contains cover versions of songs from Prince's 1984 Purple Rain album, in the same track order as the original, on the occasion of the album's 25th anniversary.

It was not a physical album and was available in its digital format up to September 30, 2009. The album cover features text in much the same font as the Purple Rain album, but with a drop of water added.

Ralo (rapper)

Terrell Davis, known by the stage name Ralo, is an American rapper currently signed to Gucci Mane's 1017 Records via Interscope Records and his own label Famerica Records. Ralo gained recognition following the release of his single, "Can't Lie" featuring rapper Future, which was released in 2015. Spin magazine placed the song at number 65 on its "Every Future Song of 2015, Ranked" list. In 2015 Ralo released the mixtapes Famerican Gangster and Diary of the Streets.

Ramones Maniacs

Ramones Maniacs is a 2001 tribute album to the punk rock band the Ramones, released by Trend Is Dead! Records. The album's track list is an exact match of the 1988 compilation album Ramones Mania, which had been released by Sire Records. The album has 26 tracks, played by bands from across the United States, plus one from Australia and one from Canada. Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone plays on the track "Blitzkrieg Bop", along with the band of which he was then a member, Youth Gone Mad.

All artwork was created by Tim Bradstreet.

Cited as having the "Greatest Number of God-Awful Band Names" by Mark Prindle of SPIN magazine in 2009.Almost every song from this album was used, without authorization, for the bootleg series RAMONES: The Tribute Vol. 1-8.


The Soulquarians were a neo soul and alternative hip hop-informed musical collective. The collective, formed during the late 1990s, continued into the early 2000s, and produced several well-received albums. Prior to its formation, members Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Q-Tip were members of the Native Tongues collective.

Producer and drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of hip hop band the Roots acted as the "musical powerhouse" behind several of the collective's projects during the late 1990s and early 2000s, including The Roots' Things Fall Apart (1999), D'Angelo's Voodoo (2000), Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun (2000), and Common's Like Water for Chocolate (2000). In an interview for Spin magazine, Common discussed the production of those albums, stating: "It was one of those time periods that you don't even realize when you're going through it that it's powerful".


SpinMedia (formerly Buzz Media) was an American digital publisher which owned a number of pop culture websites, including Spin, Stereogum, Vibe and The Frisky.Buzz Media was founded by Anthony Batt (CEO), Marc Brown, Kevin Woolery, and Steve Haldane under the name Buzznet.

Batt and Brown started a blog in 1999, and by 2006 Buzznet had a total of nine people in the Los Angeles, California area. The Buzz media name was created as the company started to acquire more pop-culture and music blogs.

The company announced on March 19, 2009, it raised US$12.5 million in funding from venture capitalists that include companies that had already invested in the company, such as Anthem Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Redpoint Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures, as well as new investor Focus Ventures.It acquired Spin Media, publisher of Spin magazine in July 2012.

After shutting down the print version of the magazine, reducing its staff to about 200, and focusing on advertising, it rebranded itself as SpinMedia in March 2013.

At that time, Steve Hansen became its chief executive.

In April 2013, it acquired Vibe magazine. In 2014, M/C Partners became the primary owner of SpinMedia after an assignment for benefit of creditors. That year Buzz Media also acquired music sites Property of Zack, AbsolutePunk.net, and Punknews.org.In September 2016, SpinMedia sold Buzznet, Idolator, and PureVolume to startup corporation Hive Media. In December 2016, Eldridge Industries acquired Spin, Vibe, Stereogum, and Death and Taxes via the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group for an undisclosed amount. Celebuzz, The Frisky, and The Superficial were sold to CPX Interactive.

Tarantula (Dylan book)

Tarantula is an experimental prose poetry collection by Bob Dylan, written in 1965 and 1966. It employs stream of consciousness writing, somewhat in the style of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg. Its style is also reminiscent of Arthur Rimbaud's in A Season in Hell. One section of the book parodies the Lead Belly song "Black Betty". Reviews of the book liken it to his self-penned liner notes to two of his albums recorded around the same time, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited.

Dylan would later cite Tarantula as a book he had never fully signed up to write: "Things were running wild at that point. It never was my intention to write a book." He went on to equate the book to John Lennon's nonsensical work In His Own Write, and implied that his former manager Albert Grossman signed up Dylan to write the novel without the singer's full consent.Although it was to be edited by Dylan and published in 1966, his motorcycle accident in July '66 prevented this. The first 50 copies were printed on A4 paper by the Albion underground press of San Francisco in mid-1965. The type-written pages were bound in yellow paper with a large red tick-like arachnid pictured on the front. Numerous bootleg versions of the book were available on the black market through 1971, when it was officially published to critical scorn. In 2003 Spin magazine did an article called the "Top Five Unintelligible Sentences from Books Written by Rock Stars." Dylan came in first place with this line from Tarantula: "Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." In the early 21st century, Tarantula was re-released in English and translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Croatian and Czech.

Will Hermes

Will Hermes (born December 27, 1960 in Jamaica, Queens, New York City) is an American author, broadcaster, journalist and critic who has written extensively about popular music. He is a longtime contributor to Rolling Stone and to National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His work has also appeared in Spin, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Believer, GQ, Salon, Entertainment Weekly, Details, City Pages (Minneapolis, MN), The Windy City Times, and Option. He is the author of Love Goes To Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever (2011), a history of the New York City music scene in the 1970s.

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