Media and Advertising

Rolling Stone: raped but still alive

Rolling Stonewalled
Hao Fang (郝舫), the editor of China Rolling Stone, has put a scan of the cover of the second issue of the magazine on his blog. He titled the post Smells Like Rolling Stone Spirit, and subtitled it:

Cover: Raped
Content: Keep up

The post is translated below:

Making a magazine, there's nothing to give you as a gift. Send you a magazine and forget about it. Especially for those who are worried that the magazine is dead. 

Every day I'll give out five magazines. If you want a copy leave your address [in the comments]. First come first serve. I should be able to put them in the mail next Monday. I'll send them out for ten days, because those are as many copies as I have. 

Comrades who know me in Beijing and Shanghai, just find me directly. The last issue [Rolling Stone China issue 1] sold out really a long time ago, so don't ask me about it. 

As you can see from the cover, the Rolling Stone logo is not there in any form at all, but apparently the content of the magazine does include articles translated from the U.S. edition. It would seem that One Media (the Hong Kong company that has the license for the Chinese Rolling Stone from Wenner Media) is still large and in charge. Let's see if they can make any money after all this self-inflicted trauma.

Best of luck to editor Hao Fang in taking on his critics (see Hong Kong Standard article linked below), and doing something that is best described in Chinese as 擦屁股, wiping the ass, or cleaning up the mess someone else has made.

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There are currently 6 Comments for Rolling Stone: raped but still alive.

Comments on Rolling Stone: raped but still alive

I'll start reading 音像世界 when they publish an article on 冷酷仙境 (Shanghai's Cold Fairyland), or mention 育音堂 (Shanghai's largest indie rock promoters). As long as they keep featuring rockers from a decade ago or longer, they are dead in the water of my interest.

I mean, taking on Chinese rock is a monumental task because it's obvious to all that even the paltry scene of the 80s was big compared to today. Rock in China is now indie or nothing, and if Rolling Stone can't get behind that, then what do they stand for?

Any magazines you recommend for boning up on the indie rock scene (when was Chinese rock corporate, btw)?

I don't think there's any magazines exploring Chinese indie rock just yet. That's why I say Rolling Stone China—or whatever it's called—would be taking on a monumental task. You might look at Guitar China (吉他中国), but I think they're still riding the wave of 1980s hair metal. And I don't read them. (But don't estimate metal; just last year Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman played to a packed auditorium at the Far East Institute of Technology in notoriously culture-free Shanghai.)

China rock was never corporate. Cui Jian and his generation of long-haired rockers only got domestic public attention when they toned down their sound to become balladeers (cf 零点乐队, 迪克牛仔 among others), and Hua'er traded their edge for money in abandoning rock for bubblegum pop. Non-corporate indie rock, ie unsigned, would come before corporate/mainstream, at least in the way I was thinking about it above.

I'm not sure what the big labels to sign rock artists would be; I'm assuming Taiwanese and Hong Kong brands, but Massage Milk's recent post has me wondering.

According to some people working at the magazine, the real reason for the problems is that Hao Fang's a jerk and pissed off too many people. Unverifiable, of course.

Regardless, not much loss to Chinese musicians or music fans. As the first issue showed: recylcling topics between two years old (Muzimei) and two decades (Cui Jian).

Actually, at least a few indie bands have been offered deals with the China ops of international labels. (Or so the bands claim.) But, between the popization of Hua'r and the career deaths that others have suffered at the hands of Chinese indie labels, most are wary of accepting. The domestic recording industry blows even for pop, hence the continued dominance of HK/TW/Korean pop and Japanese and Western rock.

Don't believe the hype. Let say if Rolling Stone Magazine does cover mainstream and indie rock to please everyone. What will they survive on as a magazine? They are using basically the same small clique of writers who have been writing for other rock publications? If these music loving fans are the target of advertisers, we should have seen at least some of the typical RS ads in the US edition. How will it be different from their writing or translation for other rock publications than this one? Many magazines have been ripping off Rolling Stone or other magazine by (badly) translate and reprint their articles without paying fee. For instance, the editor of this Rock magazine from Shijiazhuang has been using other ghost writer to translate/steal RS stories and then put under his own name. The only difference is now the Hong Kong Rolling Stone license holder is paying AV World for kan hou and paying Rolling Stone US for the stories that AV World and other Rock magazine used to(and still is) steal!How stupid can you get as a business I must ask this HK license holder? On the survival issue, how can a Rock magazine that covers mainstream and indie rock survive without advertising? As a media planner I will not want to place any major ad in this magazine because mainstream or indie rock fans are not really most of the big advertisers' target. Also, the 1st issue maybe sold out out of curiosity of the RS hype, and ads in there could be free or placed with huge discount. In the long run I will have to see the real distribution figure (not just what they claim) and demographics before I place any ads in there. I feel sorry for Rolling Stone US's first venture into China with such lacklustre result.

A Rolling Stones cover and a few original Rolling Stone translated stories don't make a Rolling Stone magazine! It's just Audio Video World with a few "syndicated stories" from Rolling Stone US!

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