Well, that was fun while it lasted. Sometime this morning, the Rolling Stone website disappeared from the Internet, leaving only a goofy placeholder page and the catcalls of thousands of people who were all too ready to believe that the dinosauric old-media mag had either a), let its domain name lapse (embarrassing!) or b), folded entirely (schadenfreude!). Which would’ve been a weird way to make the announcement. But anyway! It was just a “technical problem,” according to a Wenner Media spokesman, who called the vanishing of his website a “glitch.” But geez were we ready to believe it was more than that.
Leave it to Hipster Runoff to summarize some version of the consensus at hand: “Music Magazines continue to ‘die off’ because of the rise of Pitchfork, Hype Machine, streaming websites and the mp3 blogosphere. There is no budget left to pay ‘music writers’ who believe they still have an authentic skill.” Not exactly, but if this day has revealed anything, it’s that people are pretty much sitting around with every expectation that Rolling Stone–the bulletproof, gold standard, flagship example of a music magazine that’s printed on paper and sold everywhere from airport gift shops to Other Music–is not long for this world, and that their IT guys are essentially Tom Petty roadies making an extra buck on the side. Which may well be true!
Perhaps running things like this:
are contributing to people’s lack of faith in the value of a once vaunted institution? Or, more broadly, in the long-term feasibility of the magazine as an entity that makes money and participates in the culture it covers? The weird thing about today: full psychic and emotional confirmation of something we all pretty much knew to be true. It does not seem like people will miss this thing when it goes.