Wax Poetics vs. Rolling Stone
Wax Poetics is an American music magazine geared towards jazz, soul, hip hop, reggae, blues, and R&B. Andre Torres created the first WP magazine in 2001 after discovering the nonexistence of a publication about these genres of music. The target audience of a magazine like Wax Poetics differs from that of a Rolling Stone magazine based on articles and visuals.
The content covered in both magazines is predominantly music. WP is filled with articles on the careers and lives of certain artists such as Cee Lo Green, Thom Bell, and Kool G Rap. Adam Levine, Eric Church, and Queen are a few of the pop, rock, or country artists featured in Rolling Stone. Since music plays such a large role in our daily lives, the type of artists featured in publications alter our decision when purchasing a magazine. The audience of Wax Poetics includes a much larger amount of African Americans than the audience of Rolling Stone. One reason for this is the type of music that is often associated with certain races. According to Kantar Media SRDS, 73 percent of Rolling Stone readers are white.
Although these two magazines are both geared towards music, they are very different in several ways. Rolling Stone and most other mainstream publications are filled with advertisements within the magazine. In contrast, WP has very few ads and is filled with full-page articles. WP also includes several extensive interviews with the artists, whereas Rolling Stone mostly provides short articles and recent news on the artists.
In David Browne’s article “Sturgill Simpson, Hard-Luck Country Hero,” in the Rolling Stone, Brown reflects on Simpson’s recent success in country music as well as his personal struggles before he entered the music industry. As a teen, Simpson got into drug dealing and became an accomplice to a local drug dealer. When the dealer got caught, Simpson made the decision to join the Navy. After returning from the Navy and moving to Nashville, he became a heavy drinker and bluegrass player. Simpson self-released his debut, “High Top Mountain,” which led to a much more popular album, “Metamodern Sounds.” Browne goes on to discuss other aspects of Simpson’s career and ends his article with a quote from Simpson: “You have to represent the world you actually live in.” This article definitely attracts a particular audience, one that differs from an article about Cee Lo Green. A large portion of country music fans live in the rural South and are unfamiliar with the Urban lifestyle that is reflected in Cee Lo Green’s music.
Ronnie Reese reflects on “Vocal Soul” and Cee Lo Green in Wax Poetics. Reese discusses Cee Lo Green’s decision to separate from his crew, “Goodie Mob,” because he believed his soul singing ability and big personality set him apart. Cee Lo Green’s accomplishments and hit singles are also discussed in this article.
Another example of the content of WP’s magazine is the interview with Millie Jackson. Jackson is asked several questions such as how she got her first record deal, how she feels about her first album, how the concept for “Caught Up” came about, and what her favorite recording studio is and why. Along with interviews like these are full-page visuals to give the reader a sense of how the artists portray themselves. This makes the magazine more personable and viewer-friendly than a mainstream magazine like Rolling Stone, clustered with ads surrounding the articles.
Comparing and contrasting Rolling Stone and Wax Poetics was an intriguing task. I feel much more informed about the content of the publications, and how they target and reach certain audiences. Music publications contain less bias within the articles since they are mostly informative writings on the lives of artists. Slant coverage takes place based on what kinds of artists are featured in these magazines, such as WP focusing on different genres than Rolling Stone. I found myself interested with both publications due to my widespread interest in types of music, even though I would not fit into WP’s target audience as a young white female.