The 50-year-old legendary magazine Rolling Stone, that chronicled the music and politics of the so-called counterculture movement and changed the landscape of music journalism forever, will soon be sold. Its founder Jann Wenner is poised to sell his company’s controlling stake in the popular magazine.
Wenner and his 27-year-old son , Gus, the president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media, however, are hoping to stay on at the magazine. But if they sell, the fate of Wenner and his son staying on will depend on the buyer’s decision.
Despite the announcement of plans to sell, no potential buyers have been named yet. No company has expressed intent or interest of buying the stake of the founder. The Wenners’ other magazines - Us Weekly and Men’s Journal - were also sold recently to American Media, Inc., headed by publisher David Pecker.
Gus Wenner shared in an interview last week that “publishing is a completely different industry than what it was.”
Jann Wenner started Rolling Magazine as a hippie student in Berkeley, California in 1967 and admits the future looks tough and uncertain for his family. Son Gus also said in an interview that: “There’s a level of ambition that we can’t achieve alone. So we are being pro-active and want to get ahead of the curve.”
Rolling Stone, aside from being one of the most influential magazines to cover rock music is also known for giving opportunities and venue for experimental writers such as the gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
The magazine however faced a severe crisis in 2014 that badly hurt its reputation and even finances when it retracted a story it published that year about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. A review found out that Rolling Stone failed some basic journalistic procedures as facts verification in doing said story.
Last year, the magazine also sold 49% of its stake to a Singaporean music and technology start-up, Bandlab Technologies headed by Kuok Meng Ru, the scion of one of Asia’s richest families.