Rolling Stone Magazine has done a really distasteful thing by putting a picture of a certain person on its cover in their August 1, 2013 issue. I’m not even going to type the name of the person who is on the cover because I DON”T WANT TO REMEMBER HIS NAME! Why would you, Rolling Stone Magazine, do this? This person is not a singer, a guitar player, a bass player, a drummer, a keyboard player––none of the above. They are not a celebrity or a politician or a comedian or an actor or an artist. Rolling Stone Magazine should stick with its roots––music. When you put shit like this on your cover, you start to go down the same road as that so called Music Television station that now shows 1% music & video related content, and 99% reality television crap. It’s understandable that magazines try to strengthen their readership by incorporating other topics and content. In today’s world, some businesses need to find other avenues to tap into just to stay relevant. In some ways, you have done this by adding great articles relating to political, economic, environmental and social content. But what constitutes this cover? The Bomber? What constitutes this article?
A month after 9/11, you created a special issue of Rolling Stone Magazine paying tribute to America. You put a nice picture of the flag on the front with 9.11.01 in a nice, big black typeface. It was classy. You didn’t however put a picture of the twin towers falling, or an image of a person leaping from a building––both constant reminders of one of the most terrible days in our nations history.
In 2013, less people are reading print magazines. Readers can find all the music related content they want on the Internet, like Kanye West changed his first baby diaper last week and Jay-Z conducted his first rap performance art piece at a gallery, see? Thanks Twitter. (Do you sense a bit of sarcasm?) The public is hungry for information. What can Rolling Stone Magazine provide to me, a person who loves music, that I cannot get on the Internet?
Your decision to create this current cover is the type of thing that brings readership down and subscribers to want to cancel. Think about how many people you have just offended by creating this cover. You have had a few iconic covers in the past like Annie Leibovitz’ portrait of a curled up John Lennon next to Yoko Ono just hours before his untimely death, and Mark Seliger’s hauntingly beautiful portrait of Kurt Cobain or Lady Gaga with bubbles by David LaChapelle. It would be great if you just stuck with hiring great photographers to do your covers. Those are the ones that will resonate most with your customer base and be remembered later on.