Fader Appoints New Editor-In-Chief, Preps Global Expansion Plan
In an increasingly challenging period for music media, with SpinMedia and Myspace among the recent outlets making major slashes in editorial staff, The Fader is doubling down on its investments. On Sept. 19, the company announced former editor Naomi Zeichner would be returning to the magazine as its editor-in-chief, having previously worked as music editor of Buzzfeed since February. Zeichner joins VP of content Joseph Patel; senior video producer Shomi Patwary; senior director of content and strategy Jessica Roberston and video producer Scott Perry among the long list of recent additions to the Fader masthead.
"This is a brand that I love and is in the middle of what I feel is a really exciting growth period," says Zeichner. "It feels like home and where I should be. The opportunity to be a manger is an opportunity to grow other smart, young nontraditional writers and have them do their best work."
Patel, who recently held senior production roles at Vice Media as well as Myspace, will oversee the Fader's first major expansion into video, his top priority since starting in the Fader offices in early June. "One thing we quickly realized after I came in was that if we wanted to achieve everything we wanted to do in the next two, three or even 10 years, we had to dedicate a team for online and video. It's been operating effectively for years as a magazine and a web site, but we needed to create this structure that we could really scale for online."
Fader president and publisher Andy Cohn says the magazine's revenue has more than doubled in the past year alone, thanks to branded content programs with the likes of Vitamin Water, Sprite, Intel, Reebok, Converse and Mazda, the latter of which became a first-time sponsor of the Fader Fort at South By Southwest earlier this year. "We're really spreading out and doing some highly customized work from a lot of categories both big and small," Cohn says. "There's no money getting taken off the table here, every dollar of this growth is being reinvested into the brand."
And as indicated by Rob Stone and Jon Cohen, co-founders of Fader parent company Cornerstone, there may soon be some additional investment coming in, with advanced talks already taking place for potential strategic investments. "We're flattered that we're constantly approached by old-guard and new-guard media," Cohen says, "and we're not averse to one day exploring an opportunity to help us grow. We love the freedom that being independent gives us, and we think it's exciting to be in a position of strength."
Stone adds that the magazine will stay true to its mission of creating "firsts" for artists, like its early covers for acts like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, as it looks to expand its mission globally under Zeichner's leadership. That already includes a major focus in the UK (where distribution increased over 60% in the last year, the company says), and soon, Stone says, "we'll be expanding into 10 major cities over the next 12 to 16 months." Cohen adds that may include establishing formal offices in some of those markets.
And there's still that long-in-the-works Fader Festival, which Cohen and Stone first teased to Billboard at Lollapalooza 2013. "That has not fallen by the wayside," Cohen says. "We're in some deep conversations about how and when to execute that."