While there’s still few details and no official announcement, AOL is shutting down its AOL Music news properties and is firing their employees, according to tweets from the official AOL Music site Spinner’s account and some staff. Poor performance due to competition from independent bloggers may be to blame. However, reports indicate Winamp, SHOUTcast, and flagship music blog Spinner may survive.
AOL Music operates a variety of music news websites for different genres, the SHOUTcast Internet radio site, and the historic Winamp player it acquired in 2009 along with Spinner in a $400 million acquisition of Nullsoft.
Here’s how the pink slips flew this morning. First, Spinner tweeted: “@Spinner: All of AOL Music is shutting down. Thank you all for your support. We had such a blast.” However, it appears that tweet has since been deleted. You can see retweets of it here, though.
Later, Spinner Editor Dan Reilly tweeted:
Then Reilly and several other Spinner employees began essentially live-tweeting the demise of the site they ran:
Paul Cantor, the hip-hop editor of Spinner wrote:
The AOL Radio gave some official condolences but noted it will stay open:
Meanwhile, other music sites such as The Onion’s AV Club are reaching out to the several dozen fired employees with job offers or freelance work, and the canned AOL staff seem receptive.
Along with music.aol.com, AOL Music runs the site The Boot (country music), Noisecreep (metal), Boombox (hip-hop), and Tour Tracker (concert tickets), which presumably are also getting the axe.
While Twitter’s new music app happened to launch last week, it’s unlikely it had anything to do with the AOL Music shut down. Instead, it’s likely a reflection of poor performance by the site. When they started over ten years ago, AOL Music and Spinner were some of the only options out there for breaking music news. But as the music blogosphere blossomed, readership likely fractured to different sites with more specific personalities and genre focuses.
Well from fellow AOL employees (they own TechCrunch too), we give our hearty condolences to the AOL Music and Spinner staffs. Hope that whiskey helps.
Update: Perhaps not all is lost, as it seems Reilly has finished his meeting with HR and just tweeted:
Meanwhile, music writer J Herskowitz has tweeted: