Since being acquired by PMC Media in 2018, Rolling Stone has undergone a series of changes to transform its business.
It invested in writing talent, and hired a new publisher to lead the business-side of the brand. The print magazine reduced frequency from biweekly to monthly, and increased the overall physical quality of the book. It developed a partnership with Imagine Entertainment. And in addition to writing about the business side of music more regularly, it also launched its own music charts, aimed to compete with Billboard’s.
Its latest initiative targeting music industry professionals—many of whom are already readers because they often work behind the scenes with the artists featured on the magazine’s iconic covers, album reviews, profiles and enterprise stories—is a new e-letter specifically designed for that cohort.
RS Pro will feature exclusive content for subscribers that lives strictly in an email format. The email will be distributed weekly and is primarily designed to appeal to industry professionals seeking deeper dives into the inner workings of the music industry, context around the latest music charts and explorations into the “drama” of the music business.
“Music industry professionals must have dynamic resources to navigate the upheaval” Amy X. Wang, senior music business editor at Rolling stone tells Folio:. “And the average music fan, for the first time, is also deeply obsessed with the economics behind their favorite artists and albums. Everyone craves storytelling that can distill the complicated issues facing the record industry, and Rolling Stone is perfectly poised to deliver both audiences what they need.”
The e-letter also features links to other media outlets that have published relevant material to subscribers.
Subscriptions are free for now, but the company says this rollout is phase one of the product, and there is more to come in the pipeline in terms of how it will monetize and scale the service.
“It’s us sending up a flare, signaling to our audiences and to industry professionals that we’re ready to cover, dissect, and decode the music business from every angle,” Wang says.
Rolling Stone is one of more than a handful of mass-consumer publishers to recently tap into a community of trade professionals. Last year alone, Condé Nast, Meredith and This Old House, all rolled out B2B products, with e-letters being a key component of the strategy.