Looking for proof of the shrinking economy so many conservatives are in denial about? Well, look no further than long-standing music magazine Rolling Stone, which is shrinking from its 30-year-old large size format to the standard size used by most rags. Yes, as of the Oct. 30 issue, on sale Oct. 17, the classic Wenner Media monthly music bible will be just like any other mag.
“All you’re getting from that large size is nostalgia,” said Jann Wenner, RS founder/publisher/editor.
According to the NY Times, “Rolling Stone, published every other week, has paid circulation in the United States of more than 1.4 million, the highest in its history, but its single-copy sales have fallen from 189,000 in 1999, to 132,000 last year. Magazine racks at bookstores, newsstands and checkout counters tend to be made for the standard dimensions, and if Rolling Stone is there, it is often on a high or low shelf, out of eye level, or even on its side or folded over.”
“The consumer we want to reach watches Lost on a big TV screen, on a computer screen and on an iPhone,” added Gary Armstrong, chief marketing officer for Wenner Media. “They’re agnostic on format.”
Along with the change in size, Rolling Stone will switch to heavier, glossy paper and sleeker page designs, and it will be glued rather than stapled, giving it a flat spine rather than a tapered edge.
A prototype issue of the smaller size was created in July, and RS sent it to more than 3,000 readers and asked them to take a survey. The company says the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, and it showed the survey results to some of its major advertisers and ad buyers.
“We’ve evolved,” Wenner noted. “But the core tradition, the mission, remains the same.”