Rolling Stone will debut a new site devoted to country music next year, Michael Sebastian reported Thursday in AdAge. Rolling Stone Country won't produce a printed product regularly, Sebastian reported, but will open offices in Nashville with an editorial staff of 10 to 15.
Sebastian writes that "Rolling Stone Country comes as country music continues to boom as a business, with more than a quarter of U.S. adults now calling themselves country fans, according to Scarborough." Meanwhile, single copy sales for the magazine declined this year, while circulation increased slightly. Country music, a "sponsor-friendly genre," has done much better.
Last year, the industry hauled in $1 billion, fueled by a 4.2% increase in album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. At the same time, alternative and R&B album sales have declined. Sales of rock albums, the only other category to see an increase last year, inched up just 2%."I feel like it's the more the merrier," said Jim Ridley, editor of Nashillve Scene, the alt-weekly, in a phone interview with Poynter. "For many years, Nashville's felt severely undercovered by the national media." (Al Jazeera America opened a bureau in Nashville this past summer, promising to tell "underreported stories.")
And it signals a commitment to covering the industry, he said, that reporters aren't just dropping in, but are setting up shop in town.
"It's refreshing to see a national publication say this deserves more than just a stopover, this requires a bureau," he said. (more...)