Since its birth in 1967, Rolling Stone has been re-inventing itself to fit the era and become the successful magazine it is today. Although there are a few criticisms about the magazine, it is known worldwide and largely regarded as the predominant music promotional force in American culture.
Editor and publisher Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph Gleason founded the magazine in San Francisco after kicking it off the ground with $7500 from family members. It initially reported hippie counterculture, but distanced itself from underground newspapers by avoiding the radical politics. In the 1970s, they started including political coverage, Hunter Thompson being one of the most prominent writers until his death in 2005. The magazine was so important in pop culture in the 1970s that a song dedicated to it, “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, was a hit single.
In the 1990s, RS reinvented themselves by targeting younger readers and sex orienting their content (focusing on sexy young television, film, or pop music stars). It has hit some criticism because of this, long-time readers saying that it has declined from an astute musical and counterculture observer to a tabloid focusing on style over substance. However, the magazine has resumed its traditional mix of content, including in-depth political stories, and has seen circulation (currently at 1.4 million) and revenue rise.
Also in the late 1990s, RS maintained a website, with articles, reviews, blogs, MP3s, and at one time a message board forum. Now they also have blog comments after articles and maintain a page on MySpace as well.
In 2006, they hit their 1000th issue, the cover featuring some of the most influential celebrities that Rolling Stone covered. Not long after in 2007, the magazine’s revenue went up 23.3 percent. RS continues to grow and be regarded as one of the most influential review sections despite its many criticisms, which include reconsidering artists they once dismissed (like Led Zeppelin and Nirvana), failing to acknowledge newly emerging hard rock and hip hop, and of course, “selling out”.
For more information, rollingstone.com