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.

Kurt Cobain, his wife Courtney Love, and their daughter Frances on Spin, December 1992.
EditorMatt Medved
Total circulation459,586[1]
Year founded1985 (1985)
Final issueSeptember/October 2012 (print)
CompanyValence Media
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City, New York, U.S.


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 Duran Duran, 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 2011, Caryn Ganz became editor. 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 2013, Jem Aswad was named editor. Craig Marks became editor in 2014.

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

In 2016, Puja Patel became editor. 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

Year Artist Song Nation Source
1994Beck"Loser" United States
1995Moby"Feeling So Real" United States
1996Fugees"Ready or Not" United States
1997The Notorious B.I.G."Hypnotize" United States
1998Fatboy Slim"The Rockafeller Skank" England
1999TLC"No Scrubs" United States
2000Eminem"The Real Slim Shady" United States
2001Missy Elliott"Get Ur Freak On" United States
2002Eminem"Cleanin' Out My Closet" United States
200350 Cent"In da Club" United States
2004Green Day"American Idiot" United States
2005Gorillaz"Feel Good Inc." England
2006Gnarls Barkley"Crazy" United States
2007Kanye West"Stronger" United States
2008M.I.A."Paper Planes" England
2009Yeah Yeah Yeahs"Zero" United States
2010CeeLo Green"Fuck You" United States
2011Adele"Rolling in the Deep" England
2012GOOD Music"Mercy" United States
2013Daft Punk"Get Lucky" France
2014Future Islands"Seasons (Waiting on You)" United States
2015Justin Bieber"What Do You Mean?" Canada
2016Rae Sremmurd"Black Beatles" United States
2017Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos"Slide" Scotland
2018Valee and Jeremih"Womp Womp" United States
2019Big Thief"Orange" United States

Album of the Year

Year Artist Album Nation Source
1990Ice CubeAmeriKKKa's Most Wanted United States
1991Teenage FanclubBandwagonesque Scotland
1992PavementSlanted and Enchanted United States
1993Liz PhairExile in Guyville United States
1994HoleLive Through This United States
1995MobyEverything is Wrong United States
1996BeckOdelay United States
1997CornershopWhen I Was Born for the 7th Time England
1998Lauryn HillThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill United States
1999Nine Inch NailsThe Fragile United States
2000RadioheadKid A England[13]
2001System of a DownToxicity United States[14]
2002The White StripesWhite Blood Cells United States
2004Kanye WestThe College Dropout United States
2005Late Registration
2006TV on the RadioReturn to Cookie Mountain United States
2007Against Me!New Wave United States
2008TV on the RadioDear Science United States
2009Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavilion United States
2010Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy United States
2011Fucked UpDavid Comes to Life Canada
2012Frank OceanChannel Orange United States
2013Kanye WestYeezus United States
2014The War on DrugsLost in the Dream United States
2015Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly United States[46]
2016Solange KnowlesA Seat at the Table United States
2017Kendrick LamarDamn. United States
2018The 1975A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships England
2019Big ThiefTwo Hands United States

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 March 10, 2017.
  9. Johnston 2007.
  10. Anon. 2012, p. 313; Mazmanian 1995, p. 70
  11. Perpetua 2011.
  12. Ratliff 1997.
  13. Spin, January 2001.
  14. spencerkaufman (September 4, 2011). "10 Things You Didn't Know About 'Toxicity'". Loudwire. Retrieved May 7, 2016.


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