Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Profits

For my parent's generation, the ultimate culture-defining magazine will always be Rolling Stone. Even for my grandparents. When my Nana found out about my first magazine internship, she congratulated me, saying that she heard the publication "was just as good as Rolling Stone." But for me, Rolling Stone has long been irrelevant and irritable.

So as economic hardships increasingly face the magazine industry (CosmoGirl just folded!), Rolling Stone has announced it would shrink the mag from its trademark large format to the typical Berliner size of most magazines. The reformat, which also includes thicker, glossy paper, debuts October 30 with Obama on the cover.

This isn't the first time RS has changed formats. It first published as a tabloid-size newspaper in 1967 before printing on a four-color press in 1973. Finally, it switched to magazine-quality paper and its iconic 10-by-12 inch size in 1981. But that large-format has lent the magazine a sense of nostalgia that may have stood out to certain suburban teenagers at chain bookstores looking at other music magazine (but who cares about music anymore?)

But in today's online era, it's arguable whether size of print may matter anymore. The Rolling Stone brand still holds prominence, with circulation remaining stable at nearly 1.45 million since 2006, and its website is still a popular destination for music news.

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