For decades, Rolling Stone has been the publication that comes to mind when you think of music magazines. But now, Jann Wenner, the man who started it all in 1967, is ready to move on: He’s is putting his company’s controlling stake of the magazine up for sale, The New York Times reports.
“I love my job,” Wenner said. “I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time. [But letting go is] just the smart thing to do.” Gus Wenner, Jann’s son who leads the publication’s online operations, said that the less and less print-friendly media landscape may also have something to due with the potential sale, saying, “There’s a level of ambition that we can’t achieve alone. 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.”
Jann Wenner said he wants a buyer who has a strong feel for Rolling Stone‘s ideals and who has “lots of money,” saying, “Rolling Stone has played such a role in the history of our times, socially and politically and culturally. We want to retain that position.” Wenner later added, “I think it’s time for young people to run it.”
Considering that Rolling Stone strives to be the definitive cultural voice in media yet frequently has legendary but aging artists like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan gracing its cover, Wenner may be right about his latter point; the magazine has been accused of being out of touch on multiple instances in its advanced age, a recent example being its timeline of Chicago’s hip-hop scene.
That said, there’s no denying that Rolling Stone remains an important part of the modern musical zeitgeist and has pushed music journalism and criticism forward in a way that no other publication has. Rolling Stone has published exciting work by luminaries like Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Hunter S. Thompson, and many others, and has grown up alongside rock music while helping define it for generations of readers.
Let’s just hope Martin Shkreli doesn’t try to buy it.