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WordMan
09-18-2017, 05:40 AM
Article in NYTimes here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/business/rolling-stone-magazine-sale.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

But the headwinds buffeting the publishing industry, and some costly strategic missteps, have steadily taken a financial toll on Rolling Stone, and a botched story three years ago about an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia badly bruised the magazine’s journalistic reputation.

And so, after a half-century reign that propelled him into the realm of the rock stars and celebrities who graced his covers, Mr. Wenner is putting his company’s controlling stake in Rolling Stone up for sale, relinquishing his hold on a publication he has led since its founding.

Mr. Wenner had long tried to remain an independent publisher in a business favoring size and breadth. But he acknowledged in an interview last week that the magazine he had nurtured would face a difficult, uncertain future on its own.

Not really sure what to say. Can't say I'm surprised and I am not sure how the magazine should be positioned going forward. It's mostly a look back.

Snowboarder Bo
09-18-2017, 10:30 AM
Things have changed a lot since that Dr. Hook song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ux3-a9RE1Q), eh.

RikWriter
09-18-2017, 10:37 AM
I'll give 'em a buck fifty, which is a buck fifty more than I ever gave them for a copy of their magazine.

Tom Tildrum
09-18-2017, 10:57 AM
He has recently sold Us Weekly and Men's Journal. too.

It's difficult to see where Rolling Stone goes from here. It's basically Playboy. The name has iconic value, but it's a legacy brand all the same, and it has been very much tied to one man's tastes. Does the buyer hold to the same formula to retain the existing audience, or risk complete irrelevance by trying to move in a new direction?

installLSC
09-18-2017, 12:13 PM
The question is, what is the value of the Rolling Stone name these days? For at least a decade, Rolling Stone is the last place you'd watch to keep up on the rock scene. About the only credibility it had left was a proudly liberal political coverage and 1) the UVA case cost it a lot of journalistic cred and 2) the are so many blogs and online sites that do that anyway this year.

DrCube
09-18-2017, 01:29 PM
Magazines in general are dead. For some reason, a friend kept getting free offers for random magazines and sending them to my house. I've gotten hundreds of Rolling Stone, Outside, Men's Fitness, ESPN, etc sent to my house over the years, and that's in addition to several IEEE publications I keep getting, and all have plenty of content I'm at least nominally interested in.

I read maybe 0.1% of them. (EDIT: And I'm the only one who read any of them at all. Nobody else did, not my family members, not visitors, not anybody.)

It's sad, because I have a lot of good memories of reading magazines when I was younger. I had a subscription to SPIN when I was in high school. Smithsonian when I was in the Army in my 20s. But phones took their place. I still read books (not as often though, unfortunately), but magazines were always for light reading outside of books, like while eating or using the bathroom or in waiting rooms or waiting for my wife to get ready to go out. But the phone has taken over that use case entirely.

So I highly doubt Rolling Stone is going to "right the ship" no matter who buys them. They're circling the drain like the rest of the periodicals market, and good on the owner for getting out while the brand name still has some value.

Jim's Son
09-18-2017, 02:50 PM
Maybe the next owner will try a new strategy..like writing about music. And maybe someone will invent a tv channel that broadcasts music videos.

Leaffan
09-18-2017, 03:02 PM
Once upon a time I really liked reading Rolling Stone.

I do still read on-line articles and quite enjoy them. But I'm an old fart (55) and part of their demographics, I suppose.

Junior Spaceman
09-18-2017, 04:39 PM
Maybe the next owner will try a new strategy..like writing about music. And maybe someone will invent a tv channel that broadcasts music videos.
https://www.youtube.com/

CaptMurdock
09-18-2017, 07:43 PM
So Citizen Wenner is throwing in the towel, huh?

I'm just glad Dr. Thompson isn't around to see this. :(

JKellyMap
09-18-2017, 09:14 PM
Dr. Cube, magazines aren't dead. (But Rolling Stone may soon be). I subscribe to, and love reading, Harper's, the Economist, Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian, and New Yorker. I know I'm not alone.

ZipperJJ
09-18-2017, 09:18 PM
I got a free subscription to RS and read every issue, then re-upped my subscription. I really like it, but 1) I was a magazine journalism major so I heart magazines 2) I grew up reading RS, Spin and Circus 3) I enjoy all the topics they cover - music, politics and technology. So, I still read every issue.

But, it'd be sad to see someone lose their shirt for a magazine in this day and age, so I'm sure he's making the right decision. It's also sad that this is their 50th anniversary and have been featuring articles about the history of RS each issue.

JKellyMap
09-18-2017, 09:29 PM
By chance, my copy of a book of Rolling Stone interviews (late 60s to early 2010s) was my bedtime reading last night. Good interviews (a few by Wenner himself), mainly musicians and film people (plus a few politicians).

The magazine is definitely on the wane. I still thank them for introducing me to the Negro Problem, via one of those short album reviews, in 2000.

Guest-starring: Id!
09-18-2017, 09:36 PM
Hmmm maybe the aptly-named David Pecker (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-national-enquirers-fervor-for-trump) might possibly be taking a kick at the tires.:p

4d3fect
09-18-2017, 09:36 PM
It was fun while it lasted.

blondebear
09-18-2017, 09:39 PM
Hell, they ought to re-issue the first 10 years of Rolling Stone. It would be just as interesting as what they're putting out now.

Dewey Finn
09-18-2017, 09:44 PM
Hmmm maybe the aptly-named David Pecker (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-national-enquirers-fervor-for-trump) might possibly be taking a kick at the tires.:p
The article from The New York Times mentioned in the OP suggests that as a possibility. His company already bought Us Weekly and Men's Journal from Wenner.

Guest-starring: Id!
09-19-2017, 02:43 AM
The article from The New York Times mentioned in the OP suggests that as a possibility. His company already bought Us Weekly and Men's Journal from Wenner.


Ah I see. And the first prospect mentioned in the article, too!
Well, well - any bets he'd keep the Wenners on? Safe to say it probably wouldn't veer back to the edgier first five or six years of its history.
There would definitely be nothing anti-Trump, which would be a very weird thing for that mag.

Horatio Hellpop
09-20-2017, 01:08 AM
I think their best bet is to go web-only without a paywall. Not many 20th Century media giants have figured out how to succeed in the internet age, and the last time I bought a physical copy of this magazine a few years back, they were still trumpeting Paul McCartney and Jackson Browne on their cover (I think President Obama was the cover subject).

ftg
09-21-2017, 04:15 PM
It'll be like TV Guide. Bought, split up, re-sold, re-re-sold, etc. The magazine has nothing to with the listing service.

It's all about the brand. The magazine is an afterthought.

Someone is going to end up with the rights to sell a "Rolling Stone" cell phone.

Hmm, I wonder if they can sell such stuff without getting in trouble with the band? That would really reduce the value.

Darren Garrison
09-21-2017, 05:02 PM
Yeah, I'm sure people will be lining up to buy the magazine and then defend--and possibly pay off--more lawsuits (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/business/media/rolling-stone-virginia-lawsuit.html).

ftg
09-22-2017, 08:11 AM
Yeah, I'm sure people will be lining up to buy the magazine and then defend--and possibly pay off--more lawsuits (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/business/media/rolling-stone-virginia-lawsuit.html).

No one buys a company without making sure any existing lawsuits are covered in the contract. E.g., the seller is still on the hook. Sometimes even later lawsuits due to the previous owner's mistakes are covered as well.

Lawyers at this level are not stupid.