Rolling Stone puts its cover at the service of unsigned bands


Back when we were young, getting on the cover of Rolling Stone was such a big musical deal it that the concept was turned into a hit song – and an eventual appearance on the Rolling Stone cover – for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Now the magazine has plans to put an as-yet-undiscovered act on its cover.

The contest is called “Do You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star?” and features 16 acts that will compete for a mag cover, plus a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Garnier Fructis is on board as a partner. It also involves the Bonnaroo Music Festival and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Here’s how it will work: “Starting today, consumers have the opportunity to be a music critic by going to and rating the competing acts. The top four will move on to the next round, along with four others selected by Rolling Stone editors. These eight acts will travel to New York City in March to record two studio songs and perform for Rolling Stone and AOL Music editors, Atlantic A&R executives, and other industry professionals. Readers’ votes will select the four acts to continue to the next round, in which the advancing acts will return to New York City in April to record and perform another song. The final two acts will be chosen by readers’ votes and will perform at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in June. The performances will also be available to view online, and readers will be able to vote for their favorite. The winner will be revealed and will perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in conjunction with the debut of the August 18 issue.”

“Since its inception, part of Rolling Stone’s central mission has been discovering and featuring new music,” said Jann Wenner, Founder of Rolling Stone. “This competition shines a light on the country’s top unsigned bands and gives them a chance to grace the cover of the magazine that has launched the careers of some of the most well-known artists in rock history.”

The sixteen acts include:

* Empires (Chicago, IL)

* Fictionist (Provo, UT)

* Go Periscope (Seattle, WA)

* Jamestown Revival (Austin, TX)

* Lelia Broussard (Los Angeles, CA)

* Mod Sun (Bloomington, MN)

* Muffy (Atlanta, GA)

* PK (Templeton, CA)

* Skyler Stonestreet (Los Angeles, CA)

* Tha Boogie (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

* The Americans (New York, NY)

* The Gallery (Wilbraham, MA)

* The Romany Rye (Big Bear, CA)

* The Sheepdogs (Saskatoon, SK)

* The Steelwells (Fullerton, CA)

* Ume (Austin, TX) 

RBR-TVBR observation: There is musical talent everywhere, and one of the ways radio can firmly establish its local bona fides is to be completely on top of local and regional music that is relevant to its format. Local radio should own smaller-scale events such as this, and bring along with any partners and sponsors that would like to help foot the bill and help make it a profitable venture.

The profit to the station in terms of listener and advertiser loyalty could be priceless.

The alternative, being an airborne jukebox devoid of personality, just does not seem like a sustainable option in the digital age. Satellite and internet can handle that model better than a radio station.

Just sayin’…