Miley Cyrus October 2013 Magazine Covers Rolling Stone Harpers Bazaar

Is a Bad Miley Cyrus Good for the Magazine Industry?

Miley Cyrus Rolling Stone Magazine October 10 2013 CoverWe say we want a “family-friendlier” Miley Cyrus, but celebrity magazine editors don’t think that sells magazines. With the bad Miley and a better Miley facing off this month, which one will win in the end?

Miley Cyrus has been lighting up social media and the Internet for weeks now, it seems. Every misstep she’s made only amplified after her infamous twerk at MTV’s Video Music Awards.

Nearly everyone has collectively shaken their heads at the loss of another good girl—the Miley of “Hannah Montana” lore. The new Miley—post parents’ divorce—has embraced a new look and a new sound with her music, and parents everywhere have heralded her as the anti-example of how to act.

But the more fundamental question is: Is only Miley to blame? Which image does the public validate—even in its disgust? Is a “bad” Miley Cyrus better for the magazine industry?

Just this week, top editors for celebrity magazines might as well have said so during a panel discussion at Advertising Week. Once upon a time, you could expect to see the biggest and brightest movie stars gracing magazine covers, but these days, they admitted, it’s more about social media and buzz than it is about being an A-lister.

Enter Miley Cyrus. She’s definitely gotten people talking—about parenting, about twerking, about decency on air.

Thanks to that all-important buzz and the social media viral-ity of shock value, you’ll probably hear more about Miley’s Oct. 10 Rolling Stone magazine cover than Harper’s Bazaar’s more tasteful one. The 20-year-old is nude (arms strategically placed), leaning up against the edge of the pool with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. And she admits (like we didn’t already know) that she’s a good girl gone bad.

It’s just anMiley Cyrus Harpers Bazaar October 2013 Magazine Coverother installment from Miley in a long line of examples of how not to act, how society is falling apart, etc. Which equals a win for social media, and thus Rolling Stone (which is no stranger to pushing the envelope or stirring controversy itself).

So take Miley’s October cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Maybe the better question is have you even seen it? And if you did, did you recognize the controversial twerking sensation?

The self-proclaimed edgy bad girl actually looks pretty glamorous in a little black dress, bright red lips and a stylish ‘do.

Sadly, this magazine cover won’t quite make the rounds the (much) racier Rolling Stone cover will on social media. It won’t be used as a means to extol the virtues of proper parenting or how girls should be taught to act or dress.

Based on newsstand sales and buzz, that might add up to a loss for Harper’s Bazaar. But time (and the all-important numbers) will tell whether a good Miley or bad Miley wins out with the magazine industry—and even the public—in the end.