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November 23, 2022

Rolling Stone UK cuts staff one year after launch but publisher remains ‘very much committed’

Rolling Stone UK has made its online editor and features editor redundant.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Rolling Stone UK’s publisher remains “very much committed” to the magazine despite making redundancies in its small team just over one year after launch.

Stream Publishing, which also owns LGBTQ magazine Attitude, signed an exclusive licensing deal with Rolling Stone owner Penske Media Corporation last summer and launched the music and entertainment title in the UK at the end of September 2021.

It is now online and putting out print magazines six times a year in the UK, with its eighth issue just published.

But difficult commercial times have led to two members of the core team – its online editor and features editor – being let go after its first year.

Rolling Stone UK continues with an editor-in-chief, who also leads Attitude, and news editor. It also has support from a sub-editor and social media producer. Overall there are more than 30 members of staff across Attitude and Rolling Stone UK.

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Stream’s managing director Darren Styles told Press Gazette the publisher remains “very much committed (to both) for the longer term”.

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He said: “There are some challenging times coming if economists and forecasters are to be believed, not the given it once was, but Attitude is in the commercial form of its life and RS UK, though just getting started and only a bit behind where we’d hoped to be, is nonetheless growing every day.”

The October/November issue of Rolling Stone UK published in August with cover star Harry Styles sold more than 70,000 print copies.  Other big-name cover stars this year have included Matty Healy of The 1975, Yungblud, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Adele, and Burna Boy.

It was also “warming”, he said, that the magazine has been nominated in two categories at next week’s British Society of Magazine Editors Awards – launch of the year and editor-in-chief of the year for Cliff Joannou.

Meanwhile, the Rolling Stone UK website is now topping one million unique users per month.

“Both print and digital forms of RS UK will be around for some time to come, I promise you that,” Styles said.

Rolling Stone US launched in 1967 and continues to have a print circulation of around 425,000 and around 22-28 million unique visitors per month, according to Axios. Last year was said to be its most profitable in two decades, largely thanks to investment in events.

Live events were also part of the plan for Rolling Stone UK in its first year but the commercial side has proved challenging in the current climate. Attitude has run a major awards event since 2012 but Rolling Stone UK’s first awards this month ran as a content vertical without a live event.

Press Gazette research has showed that UK music magazines had been some of the most hit by circulation declines in the past five years, while media businesses across the board are currently showing caution amid rising energy and print costs, a dip in advertising, and a looming recession.

Rolling Stone only briefly had a dedicated UK edition in all its years until 2021: in 1969, Mick Jagger sponsored a London-based operation after being shocked at the audacity of the title launching with his band’s name but not inviting them to be cover stars. However it only lasted a few months.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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