Elle/Rolling Stone/Marie Claire
From Lady Gaga to Jessica Simpson to J. Lo., Women's Wear Daily is reporting which celebrity faces sold the most magazines in 2010, analyzing circulation numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Echoing a recent trend in Hollywood box office performance, the sporadic numbers show that star power is dwindling—recognizable celebrities aren't enough to move copies of glossies anymore. So what's good, what's bad, and what's puzzling about the biggest-selling magazines of 2010?
While the annual report may be disproving conventional wisdom—that slapping an A-lister's mug on a cover sells copies—it does reaffirm a few time-tested editorial rules. To that regard, editors should be thanking their Little Monsters for Lady Gaga. The singer graced the covers of several magazines throughout the year—Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair—and helped each issue become the publication's best seller, demonstrating that controversial celebrities with public intrigue still have consumers reaching for magazines at the checkout stand. To call Gaga provocative is an understatement, as would be labeling her cover poses such. Corroborating the principle that pushing buttons still works, that Lady Gaga Rolling Stone cover—the one that sold more than three times its 2010 average—also featured the interview with Stanley McChrystal that WWD rightfully calls "one of the most explosive magazine pieces of the year."