New York City’s Village Voice, a beacon for culture vultures and left-leaning political animals for 62 years, is calling time on its print edition.
Owners of the independent weekly on Tuesday announced the end of its physical publication, though the exact date of the final copy has yet to be finalised.
The title will live on as a Website, explained its owner Peter Barbey, who said the tough decision reflects the shifts in the way consumers want their news delivered.
“That business has moved online — and so has the Voice’s audience, which expects us to do what we do not just once a week, but every day, across a range of media, from words and pictures to podcasts, video, and even other forms of print publishing,” Barbey said in a statement.
The Village Voice’s web traffic fluctuates widely, reports Billboard, though the title generated 1.318 million multi-platform unique U.S. visits for the month of July, according to comScore data provided to The Hollywood Reporter.
The development took readers – and rivals — by surprise. Writes the New York Times: “The print pages of The Village Voice were a place to discover Jacques Derrida or phone sex services, to hone one’s antipathy to authority or gentrification, to score authoritative judgments about what was in the city’s jazz clubs or off off Broadway theaters on a Wednesday night. In the latter part of the last century, before “Sex and the City,” it was where many New Yorkers learned to be New Yorkers. “
Print media, like the CD business, is in sharp decline as news hounds increasingly get their fix from online channels and social media. Many Australian mastheads suffered double-digit circulation slumps in the first half of 2017, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, as News Corp’s The Sunday Telegraph’s circulation ticked below 400,000 for the first time. The music press hasn’t fared much better. Britain’s venerable NME switched became a free title in September 2015 as its weekly circulation slumped to about 15,000, well down from 250,000 in its 1970s heyday.
The Village Voice has a colourful past which dates back to its launch back in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer. In 1996, the title flipped its business model and switched to a free distribution, with its income heavily reliant on classified ads, many for sex and escort services. The title changed hands in 2015 and soon after its sex advertising was wiped out as its print run grew by about 50% to 120,000 copies.
Music has always been a pillar at Village Voice. Indeed, the lead on its Website this week is a feature on the late, great Lou Reed.