This isn’t a hit piece, nor a complaint. Just what the Rolling Stone Culture Council is if you’re searching and can’t find info. It is legit, not a phishing email, and probably about what you suspect it is (pay for play.)
I got contacted by the Rolling Stone Culture Council and had absolutely no idea what the Culture Council was, and after some research and back and forth I thought I’d let you know, as the only things I see out there as of this writing are remarkably similar PR pieces.
Sit back and enjoy the investigative journey that took an email and 10 minutes of dedicated research to find out what it cost.
TL;DR – $1500 a year membership to become a thought leader that can theoretically post on rollingstone.com
Rolling Stone, for the readers who are younger, not based in the US, or not English speaking, or simply don’t recognize it as one of the best known entertainment media outlets in the world, is a fairly popular and well known American magazine. What their Culture Council was however, was not something I’d heard of. A google search tends to indicate this thing came out about 45-60 days ago as everything’s from mid November. There’s no reason I would have run across it before now.
Now, initially I thought I’d been contacted as Paul at Pocketables or my kid blog site, perhaps even for my Covid-19 coverage in TN, maybe an outlier as the president of the GNA, but I thought Pocketables because that niche seemed to fit into the influencers section of the qualification page. Perhaps they made a mistake and thought we were in the Cannabis industry as that’s what Crowdgather (former owners of Pocketables,) decided to pivot to? Color me intrigued.
Also color me a tad skeptical as while I believe I produce some interesting content from time to time the really good articles are a little too spaced for me to think the Rolling Stone is beating down my door…
Then I noticed that the email wasn’t addressed to Pocketables, the Android Tech site, it wasn’t addressed to the moderately successful kid blog writer, it wasn’t directed to the small time data crunching TN covid coverage, it was directed to the IT director of my work, which is me. Huh. I mean, we do work in the media, commercials, film industry, but ok this does not check out. I mean I’m good at saving a few bucks and keeping up on tech trends and security, but I’m definitely not a leader in those fields due to lack of funding and company size.
Literally there’s no reason to invite Paul King, the 20-year veteran IT director of a 43 year old company based in Nashville, to do anything other than ask how you’ve managed to pivot 27 times in 20 years through 5 companies that are all the same and not manage to move your desk. I mean, I’ll save you a lot of money as an IT person, but how-tos in tech aren’t RS territory as far as I can tell.
I should also probably point out at the time I started researching most of the main page of the Council was not appearing, which was probably my browser, internet, something, so color yourself unimpressed with my level of research and “duh” when I get to the point. So yeah, main page was not loading or if it did I was seeing very little. There’s also no pricing information listed or anything to indicate you’re expected to pay to be a member/contributor.
What I did manage to get from my email invite and what I could see was that access allowed people to post on the online version of Rolling Stone, that was about it (seeing the page anything below the words “get published” nope,) who knows. I contacted the person who contacted me and asked who they were actually inviting and what it cost because I suspected this was a members only site that would have me paying to work. I was correct. To get on the Council was $1500 a year and $2550 for two years.
There are of course perks that come with membership, such as being able to publish on RollingStone.com, networking with other people doing that, and my guess is occasionally crossing over into printed media. It also allows you to have a contributor member profile and some bragging rights.
While interesting, as my blogging fortune is currently in the negative and I regularly refuse to allow people to pay to post on Pocketables (really, daily I do, I really should sell out at some point,) it’s not something I’m going to be doing. Not really sure how I feel about pay for play, especially on a new platform, but it works for some, I’m not judging.