Rolling Stone, that iconic magzine for anyone who has any interest in music, or grew up in the 60s or 70s or 80s... is both 50 years old and for sale.
A piece in this month's Vanity Fair pretty much lays out why the magazine is for sale - revenue is down.
This is not a surprise. Most magazines, in fact, most print publications are suffering. They are in trouble because Google and Facebook have captured an estimated 85% of the ad sales that used to go to print. Also, print is astonishingly expensive to do compared to online - you have to actually print the newspaper or magazine - ink on paper, then you have to physically distribute it around the world. That costs money!
The most interesting graph in the VF article really stood out to me:
"Gus Wenner says the pitch he is making to investors is that the future of Rolling Stone is online and in video and television"
You bet it is!
The average American spends an astonising 5 hours a day, every day, watching TV. The average American spends 19 minutes a day reading. Where do you think you should be?
Now, here's the really important point of this story. Magazines like Rolling Stone are magnets for people who want to write about or rather create content about the music business.
If I want to learn about a band do I go to CNN or Roling Stone?
Do you even have to ask?
So, the trick here (Gus Wenner please pay attention) is to take the asset that you have - a building filled with the world's greatest music experts - and unleash them with video. But video that is done in the same way that print is done.
And how is print done?
You have your reporter, you give him or her a pencil and a piece of paper and you say 'there is the door' - and off they go. And if they are lucky and work hard, they produce the kind of content that made Rolling Stone Great.
So now, you take away their pencil and paper and you give them an iPhone (they probably have one already) and you say 'there is the door' and send them off to make video.
No camerman, no sound man, no producer, no reporter, no editor, no nothing.
And you know what you got?