Rolling Stone Magazine Is Going Up for Sale
After 50 years, Rolling Stone magazine will be put up for sale. This move could leave Rolling Stone out of 71-year-old founder Jann Wenner’s hands for the first time in the publication’s history.
Though Rolling Stone has shifted with the times in a world that gives less mainstream attention to rock music, the magazine was for many years the go-to source for all things amplified. To be featured on Rolling Stone’s cover offered a moment of immortality for the artist, solidifying them as one of the key voices of their generation. We’ll likely never see another music publication that left such heavy cultural footprints, so we can only imagine the gigantic bids that will be placed on Rolling Stone, despite the recent decline of print journalism.
“I love my job, I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” Jann Wenner tells the New York Times. “[Letting go is] just the smart thing to do.”
Jann Wenner’s 27-year-old son, Gus, has been serving as COO of Wenner Media. The younger Wenner also supports the idea of selling Rolling Stone. “There’s a level of ambition that we can’t achieve alone,” Gus Wenner says. “So we are being proactive and want to get ahead of the curve. Publishing is a completely different industry than what it was. The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that.”
Wenner Media still owns the majority of Rolling Stone, having sold a 49 percent stake in the magazine to BandLab Technologies, a music technology company based in Singapore, in 2016. BandLab ponied up $40 million for the deal, much less than a $500 million offer Wenner claims he turned down for the entire magazine during a 1999 interview.
Jann Wenner seems content with letting go of his creative grip on Rolling Stone. “I think it’s time for young people to run it,” Wenner says. “It’s what we need to do as a business. It’s what we need to do to grow the brand.”
Though both Wenners would like to stay on, they admit that the decision will be out of their hands once the magazine is sold. As of this posting, no offers to purchase Rolling Stone have been made public. Stay tuned as updates on Rolling Stone roll in.
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