April 28, 2014 Last Updated 2:36 pm

Classic Rock Magazine comes to the Apple Newsstand as a classic Adobe DPS edition

TeamRock launches a native digital edition, complete with 13 issues available inside the app’s library

My music collection is rather ridiculous, I admit. Between the hundreds of LPs I still have (hundreds more having been sold off) and the thousands of CDs on my shelves, it has gotten to the point that I can no longer listen to even a small percentage of the music I possess anymore. I sometimes feel that I enjoyed music more when I had only a shelf or two of LPs that were listened to regularly. Some of those early LP purchases would be called “classic rock” today, I suppose. But I don’t think about music that way. I can play medieval music one minute, jazz the next, and what some call RIO the next.

ClassicRock-iPad-coverSo when I see the term “classic rock” used it means nostalgia, and I hate nostalgia with a passion. Oh well, others love “classic rock” the way others love “prog rock” and others love… whatever.

Like everything else, there is a magazine dedicated to classic rock and I bet you can guess its name.

Today Classic Rock Magazine came to the Apple Newsstand in a native, Adobe DPS built digital edition. Published by TeamRock, the app appears under their own name in the App Store (yeah) and the app is universal, though it appears to have been designed with the iPad in mind.

I loaded the app onto my third generation iPad, which more and more may not be a good idea. I am finding that modern apps tend to lag and sometimes appear buggy on this older tablet. This particular app’s library acted up a bit, especially when I agreed to subscribe. After the fourth or fifth time it asked me if I really wanted to subscribe I felt like throwing my iPad against a wall (kind of like those long fade outs The Guess Who used to do – they could turn a cute two and a half minute song into a five minute drone-on better than any other band in history).

ClassicRock-iPad-spreadBut all the while this was happening, the first issue was already downloading (the latest issue which is June) – and once I opened it up all went well.

I like the choice of screenshots used in the app description, an often overlooked part of the app store experience. One of the them is just a house add for subscriptions. I like it because it is a visual way of telling the reader all they need to know about what it will cost them after they have downloaded the app.

Like many digital editions that feature native design and are usually hybrids (ads as seen in print, editorial reformatted for the tablet), this digital edition is designed in portrait. The choice works for most of the layouts, but obviously presented problems when two-page spreads were redesigned. What to do about that great shot of Ian Anderson on this motorcycle? Shrink it down for a portrait oriented tablet page, or make it stretch over two tablet pages?

The design is great, no doubt due to the “digital consultants” credited in the issue: The App Lab, made up of David Hicks (who is a TNM reader, I am happy to report), Craig Llewelyn-Williams, Rob Fluellen, and Pip Tallents (the only other ‘Pip’ I’ve heard of other than the great drummer Pip Pyle). Until corrected, let’s give them credit.

ClassicRockiPad-roryPart of the problem with digital editions of music magazines is the lack of audio files found in them. Publisher’s don’t own the rights to the music they write about, of course. But it seems to me that one day soon, smart record labels (if such a thing exists) will automatically give digital publishers the right to excerpt music for their publications, probably in exchange for an iTunes link.

Really smart labels might go further and start supplying music magazines with video clips of the artists they are promoting for the digital editions. It is strange that publishers are loath to aggressively move in this direction as it would seem to benefit everyone. Right now, these videos are seem by the hundreds on YouTube, with the labels not happy about it, but having to live with it. And those music clips of live performances can be found all over the web on file trading sites that the labels and artists sometimes complain about, but also sometimes realize that it promotes the artists.

Player-iPadClassic Rock Magazine has a music player built into the app, and it is very well done.

I missed it initially because it appeared to me that this was just a link to iTunes. But if one pulls the link open there is a music player that gives the listener a small clip of a song from the music reviewed. It’s not enough for me, as the music clips are so short, but it’s definitely a start. Hopefully labels will get smarter about what they allow publishers to do with digital music files.

The app is free to download, of course, with individual issues costing £2.99($4.99 / €4.49). There are three subscription levels: 1 month £2.49 ($3.99 / €3.59), 6 months £14.99 ($19.99 / €16.59), and 1 year £27.99 ($39.99 / €35.99).

In addition to the most recent issue – June – the app’s store also gives readers access to 12 other issues going back to July 2013. This is something very few new apps will do, though subscribing only gives you access to the latest issue.

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