That sound you hear is another nail being driven into the coffin of print media, as The New York Times reports that Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner is putting his pioneering music magazine up for sale. Wenner sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies for $50 million almost exactly one year ago, and now he and his son Gus, the president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media, are looking for a buyer who respects the magazine’s legacy and also has “lots of money.”
“I love my job, I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” Wenner the elder told the Times. But selling the remaining majority stake is “just the smart thing to do.” He founded Rolling Stone 50 years ago, which has been one of the most respected sources for music journalism since its inception, as well as the jewel in the Wenner Media crown. But, like The Village Voice and countless other print publications, Rolling Stone has been hit hard by declining revenues in the industry-wide shift to digital, which its online advertising hasn’t been able to make up. Newsstands sales have also fallen, and then there are the settlements for the multiple libel suits prompted by the magazine’s since-debunked story about a gang rape at the University Of Virginia. Now the Wenners hope to find someone with the resources to grow the publication. “It’s what we need to do as a business,” Gus Wenner said.