As we told you in November, Rolling Stone, the once relevant music magazine, has plans for China. Well, now they have materialized. The inaugural issue, with Chinese rocker Cui Jian on the cover, hit newsstands over the weekend. Pictured is the copy we bought for 20 RMB on Nanjing Xi Lu (price includes a Rolling Stone baseball cap). Based on interviews with a couple news vendors in Beijing, The Times of London has proclaimed the magazine a “smash hit“:
Chinese readers bought nearly every copy of the inaugural edition of Rolling Stone in Beijing yesterday.
On the cover of the first edition in Chinese of the American bible of pop culture is Cui Jian, the godfather of Chinese rock and roll. Featuring the 44-year-old rock star was a bold choice. Cui only last September played his first public concert in China in 12 years, to nearly 10,000 fans in the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing.
The magazine features Jay Chou, a pop star from Taiwan, Nigo, a Japanese hip hop artist and Muzimei, a Chinese blogger famous for her sex diary, to round out its Asian input. More than half of the content is translated from the US edition.
Indeed, leafing through our copy it is obvious that the only thing Chinese about this magazine is the language. Just check out the names at the top of the Cui Jian cover: Bono, Jessica Alba and Larry Wachowski. It could have been even more Westernized had RS not landed the Cui Jian interview, which The Times called “a coup.” A Chinese blogger in Shanghai snagged what appears to be an early mockup of the cover. The cover boy? Bono.
We suppose it was silly of us to hope that the underground (or even aboveground) scenes in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu would get any coverage. Now, that would be a magazine we would like to read.
Also, rollingstonechina.com, the site mentioned on the cover, is “under construction.” That seems like a boneheaded move. Couldn’t they have had something up to coincide with the launch?