In a May 2011 interview with AdAge, Rolling Stone founder and publisher Jann Wenner memorably described magazine publishers’ embrace of the iPad (s AAPL) as “premature” and spurred by “sheer insanity and insecurity and fear.” A little under two years later, Wenner Media has decided the time is right for the classic music magazine to embrace the tablet: Rolling Stone‘s first iPad edition hit Apple’s(s AAPL) Newsstand app Thursday.
Wenner Media describes the launch as a “planned progression” that began in May 2010 with Rolling Stone‘s Beatles guide app and continued with a music news iPhone app and the launch of Us Weekly on iPad last May. A digital replica edition of Rolling Stone is already available for Kindle Fire (s AMZN), Nook (s BKS) and Zinio, but the iPad edition is optimized for the tablet and “all of the album and song reviews and music-related articles will include a link to listen to music samples and purchase tracks from iTunes.” (Those are the red buttons in the image at left.) In his AdAge interview two years ago, one of Wenner’s arguments against releasing magazines on iPad was that it was too expensive and didn’t provide enough revenue; the iTunes affiliate partnership helps with that.
The iPad edition of Rolling Stone will not be bundled with the print issue. iPad subscriptions are $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year, while a single issue is $4.99 — the same as the print magazine on the newsstand.