Well, we’re big rock singers
We got golden fingers
And we’re loved everywhere we go (that sounds like us)
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten-thousand dollars a show (right)
We take all kinds of pills that give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we’ve never known
Is the thrill that’ll gitcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone
Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
From a loft in San Francisco in 1967, a 21-year-old named Jann S. Wenner started a magazine that would become the counterculture bible for baby boomers. Rolling Stone defined cool, cultivated literary icons and produced star-making covers that were such coveted real estate they inspired a song.
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.
“I love my job, I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” said Mr. Wenner, 71. But letting go, he added, was “just the smart thing to do.”
The sale plans were devised by Mr. Wenner’s 27-year-old son, Gus, who has aggressively pared down the assets of Rolling Stone’s parent company, Wenner Media, in response to financial pressures. The Wenners recently sold the company’s other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. And last year, they sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a music technology company based in Singapore.
Both Jann and Gus Wenner, the president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media, said they intended to stay on at Rolling Stone. But they said they also recognized that the decision could ultimately be up to the new owner.
Rolling Stone, rock’n’roll magazine turned liberal cheerleader, up for sale
It is the magazine that described investment bank Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, George W Bush as the “worst president in history” and featured a photo of a naked John Lennon curled around Yoko Ono on its front page.
But after almost 50 years of seminal covers and epoch-shifting articles, the owners of Rolling Stone have put the title up for sale amid financial difficulties.
Founded by Jann Wenner in 1967 when he was a 21-year-old hippy student in California, Wenner now runs the rock’n’roll magazine turned liberal cheerleader with his son Gus, president of the family publishing company.