New music digital editions, both replica and native, released into the Apple Newsstand

Two new international editions of Rolling Stone are released, while Team Rock releases their fourth Newsstand app for their recently acquired music magazines

The pace of new digital magazine or digital editions being launched into the Apple Newsstand has slowed to a trickle – mostly the result of the fact that many titles already have released their apps. With well over 10,000 titles already in the Newsstand, the issue readers face is not if there is anything to read, but how to find what they want and how to find interesting new titles. Apple does not make it easy, something that one now had to conclude is intentional – after all, they are well aware that their Newsstand is a mess and either have no intention of cleaning it up, or are waiting to introduce a completely new scheme.

RS-Italy-iPadMost categories have seen few new titles released lately, but the Movies & Music category continues to see new offerings released on an ongoing basis.

Two versions of Rolling Stone have appeared for the first time inside the Newsstand: the Italian edition from Luciano Bernardini de Pace Editore, and the Mexican edition which appears under the name of the vendor used, Magzter. The Italian edition is powered by Viewer+, a solution owned by Applix Group.

But digital editions are replicas, right on down to the page numbering and bar codes on the cover.

RESPECT.Digital is a hip-hop title from the agency Musinart LLC. The magazine itself is relentlessly commercial. The app is relentlessly odd – sort of a replica edition with enhancements. The Newsstand app is only for the iPad, which means that those accessing the app will have an easier time reading the digital edition than those apps that automatically add in iPhone support, despite being merely a replica edition.

AkmStudio Ltd has released apps for London in Stereo and Bristol Live Magazine, two live music magazines. Both titles would be available in print, were you to find them, but the digital editions require that you buy a subscription, though it is only priced at the token price of $0.99.

The apps link back to AKMPublishing, which describes itself as “a boutique publishing platform based in London & Berlin, created with everyone from independent magazines to publishing houses in mind.”

One would think that AKMPublishing is the publisher of the magazines as there is nothing in the app description that says otherwise, other than the copyright that lists both Bristol Live Magazine or London In Stereo, and AKMPublishing. As I’ve stated before, if the vendor insists that they app appear under their name, the least they can do is make sure there is a link back to the actual publishers site.

screen480x480Team Rock has released a new Newsstand app for The Blues, a relatively new title having been launched by the publishing team behind Classic Rock magazine in 2012. This is the fourth new app released from the company that bought the music magazines from Future plc in 2013.

What is interesting for publishers to know about these apps are that they are far better digital editions than those that were produced by Future. Future has its own digital publishing platform, FutureFolio, which produces excellent native editions, but also replicas – and Future had chosen to go the replica route with these titles.

So readers are thrilled with the new apps from Team Rock, right? No. The reviews inside the U.S. App Store are universally negative because of complaints of lost issues, poor circulation customer service, etc. Not a single review has anything good to say about the apps – though, to be fair, all the complaints center on subscription issues, not the digital editions.

That has to be terribly frustrating for the art directors and editors working on the digital issues. But it is reminder that the back-end of your publishing has to work as well as the front-end – that offering an attractive, inventive digital magazine will mean little if readers can not access the issues. This is why the reader reviews for the magazines from Hearst are so mixed – readers rarely complain about the digital issues themselves, but about other things, such as being a print subscriber that is forced to buy their magazines a second time to access them on devices.

The good news for Team Rock is that these reader complaints can be fixed as evidenced by the reviews inside the UK App Store, which are far more positive – with even a few readers saying that new readers can ignore the 1-star reviews because many of the issues that have caused complaints have been fixed.

Comments are closed.