Which Really Rich Person Should Buy 'Rolling Stone'?

The magazine's founder is selling his majority stake, and we've got some very! Handy! Suggestions!
September 18, 2017, 11:34am
Fun fact, Rolling Stone once asked if W Bush was the US' worst president in history. Photo via US DoD

Well, four times is officially a trend, right? We've seen a recent wave of legacy print magazine editor departures in the US—Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter, Robbie Myers of Elle, Nancy Gibbs from Time and last week, Glamour's Cindi Lieve—and you can now add another name to the list. Over the weekend, Rolling Stone's 71-year-old publisher Jann Wenner announced that he was selling his stake in the mag that he founded in 1967.

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Yes, you can talk about the usual things: that monthly print mags haven't been the same since the recession, with many folding, going fully online or moving to periodical publication schedules; that these big-name changes are more about the old guard handing over the reins to younger publishers who may well be telling their stories on apps or online instead. But, this is not a media site that writes about the media, so fuck all of that. One question remains: which silent investor with deep enough pockets is going to buy Rolling Stone now? In a New York Times interview, Wenner said he hoped to find a buyer who understood what the magazine is about (blending politics with cultural analysis, nurturing talent) and has "lots of money." Fair enough. How about this lot, Wenner? You're welcome.

MARTIN SHKRELI

Photo via VICE

Why? It just feels like he'll take any opportunity to be back in the news. We already know that Shkreli seems to care about music enough to buy Wu Tang's single-copy album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million.

What would he do with the magazine? I don't know, probably turn it into a pamphlet on price-hiked medication, just to troll. Shkreli's in jail now anyway, for violating his bail after imploring people to "try to grab a hair from" Hillary Clinton on her book tour. This may be beyond his reach for the timebeing.

PRINCE GEORGE OF CAMBRIDGE

Why? Tbh by the time he grows up, the Royal Family will really be trying to appeal to the masses in the hopes that we don't all wake up one day and storm their lavish palaces and castles to reclaim our tax money. This will feel like a sound investment for a four-year-old too.

What would he do with it? Ask a couple of peasants to do the editorial work, while hosting fundraisers for the editorial budget. Shift the lens a bit towards Britain, in all of its majesty.

RIHANNA

Why? She's doing practically everything else. Between Fenty Beauty actually providing a diverse range of foundation colors and Puma x Fenty at Fashion Week being a nice excuse to ride a motorbike indoors, she's firmly in the habit of doing 'more than music.' I feel as though she'd see this as a personal challenge: 'can I revive one publication in a precarious industry? Yes of course—I just invented highlighter.'

What would she do with it? What I'd really hope? For her to essentially turn it into a cross between a Rihanna fan mag and a place where she'd hand over the reins to a bunch of young, clever, new writers to champion the music they like.

MICK JAGGER

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Why? For the really entry-level banter.

What would he do with it? Immediately sell it on after realising the short-lived gag wasn't worth it.

GEORGE W BUSH

Photo by US National Archives via Flickr

Why? Revenge—Rolling Stone rightfully ripped into him throughout his presidency, asking such questions as "George W. Bush: The Worst President in History?" (lol, if only they knew what was to come) and setting Bush out as "Polluting Like a Rock Star."

What would he do with it? Fill it with pullout posters of his paintings, then forget that there was meant to be other stuff in it. Fold after two issues.

LAURENE POWELL JOBS

Photo by UN Climate Change via Flickr

Why? She has a shit-load of money. She's Steve Jobs' widow, and she's well-known for her philanthropic work. Like, her net worth is meant to be valued at around $14 billion. Spending $100 million on a magazine would be nothing for her, honestly.

What would she do with it? Turn it into a really sincere home for hard-hitting stories about where immigration, justice and pop culture collide probably. Jobs recently bought a majority stake in The Atlantic and supports ProPublica and the Marshall Project, so is about that 'speaking truth to power' life. Think fewer Paul McCartney covers, more exposes on how Paul McCartney spoke in a weird accent trying to get people to go meat-free.

Realistically, the guy who runs American Media Inc—which bought US Weekly and Men's Journal off Wenner—will probably snap it up though, sorry everyone.

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