As far as we can tell, the headline isn’t something ripped out of The Onion. Rolling Stone, one of the world’s biggest and most prominent music publications, is offering prospective writers the “opportunity” to be published in their magazine. There’s no word on whether you’ll have full creative freedom to write about how terrible Trapt is, but that would be fun. Here’s the catch – you have to pay to do so.
It’s worse than you think. You have to pay the publication, which was founded in 1967, a $1,500 yearly fee (yes, we’re serious) and $500 up front – and inclusion of your feature isn’t even guaranteed in Rolling Stone. The website set up for the so-called “Culture Council” (what a name, incredible) says this:
Rolling Stone Culture Council provides members the exclusive opportunity to publish on RollingStone.com. Being published in one of the best-known entertainment media outlets in the world sets you apart as a visionary, leader, and bold voice in your industry. You’ll have the power to tell your story in your unique way. You’ll also be able to inspire future clients, partners, and investors with your ideas, expertise, and insights into coming trends that you’re influencing. Not a writer? No worries. We have a dedicated editorial team to guide you through the writing and publishing process.
As The Guardian notes, “publication is not guaranteed and prospective first-person pieces are vetted by Rolling Stone’s partner, the Community Company.”. So essentially, this is throwing your money away to possibly get your name out there. The big question is, who is this appealing to? Starting your own blog is essentially free thanks to hosts like WordPress (yours truly started New Fury Media for pretty much free, too), you’ll have full creative control (because the website is yours), and you’re not, you know, throwing away money. But hey, you do get “exclusive access to Rolling Stone Culture Council’s web badges, decals, and press release templates”. What a great deal!