Rihanna and Taylor Swift Tank at Newsstands

Rihanna and Taylor Swift may have been at the top of their fame game in 2012--both released new albums, courted controversy in their love lives, and were damn near inescapable--but apparently people didn't really care to see them on the cover of fashion glossies. Both starlets were newsstand duds, according to the Alliance for Audited Media's annual report of the best and worst selling glossy covers. So which cover stars did boost sales?
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Hayley Phelan
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Rihanna and Taylor Swift may have been at the top of their fame game in 2012--both released new albums, courted controversy in their love lives, and were damn near inescapable--but apparently people didn't really care to see them on the cover of fashion glossies. Both starlets were newsstand duds, according to the Alliance for Audited Media's annual report of the best and worst selling glossy covers. So which cover stars did boost sales?
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Rihanna and Taylor Swift may have been at the top of their fame game in 2012--both released new albums, courted controversy in their love lives, and were damn near inescapable--but apparently people didn't really care to see them on the cover of fashion glossies.

Both starlets were newsstand duds, according to a report compiled by WWD using numbers from the publishers' statements to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Taylor Swift covered not one, not two, but a whopping five magazines in the past year, including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle. But despite the vote of confidence from magazine editors, Swift failed to perform: Her issues sold either slightly above or slightly below average, with the exception of Cosmopolitan, for which Swifty's issue was the magazine's worst selling all year. Swift actually has a pretty bad track record when it comes to selling magazines: In 2010, she was a consistent worst-seller, and in 2011, when she only covered two mags (Teen Vogue and InStyle), her performance was unremarkable.

Rihanna's Vogue November issue also tanked: It sold 227,000 copies--32 percent below the six-month average--making it the glossy's second-worst selling issue all year. Vogue's Olympic issue, covered by Ryan Lochte, Hope Solo and Serena Williams, has the dubious honor of being the worst-selling issue. (Maybe Lochte won't be so chummy with Anna Wintour from now on.)

So who did perform? Lady Gaga sold the most issues (602,000 copies) for Vogue, followed by Adele (410,343). Gaga has been newsstand gold for the past two years.

For Glamour, consistent best-seller Lauren Conrad sold the most issues, followed by Victoria Beckham. Scarlett Johansson and Ashley Greene worked magic for Cosmopolitan--though WWD posits that it might have been the cover line “52 sex tips inspired by 50 Shades of Gray" that worked newsstand magic for Greene's issue, not the actress.

Elle's top seller was Katy Perry, while Bazaar's was Gwen Stefani, followed by Kate Moss. Moss also worked wonders for W--but not for Vanity Fair, selling 277,190 in December, or about ten percent below the average. Kate Middleton--who wasn't even really shot for the cover--was Vanity Fair's top-seller, though we think it might have something to do with that issue having the International Best Dressed List in it.

Jennifer Aniston moved the most issues for InStyle, followed by Jennifer Lopez. These last two consistently perform on the newsstand--which is probably why we continue to see them on mag covers, even when they've got nothing to plug.

It also suggests that readers still prefer to read about the A-list old guard, rather than the buzzy newcomers. Mag editors took a gamble on Rihanna and Swift this year--and lost big time. Both age and ubiquity seem to be a deterring factor here--something that editors as well as starlets would be wise to keep in mind.