Rolling Stone India looks at Bollywood, rock


NEW YORK -- Music lovers' magazine Rolling Stone will hit newsstands in India this week with a local edition that dedicates pages to the sounds of Bollywood as well as old fashioned rock and roll.

Wenner Media LLC has licensed its Rolling Stone brand and content in a deal with MW.Com India Pvt Ltd to launch the magazine in at least 10 major urban markets from Mumbai to Kolkata.

MW.Com, which also publishes Man's World magazine, is targeting a circulation of about 80,000 to 90,000 Rolling Stone copies and plans to earmark at least 35% of the editions to covering India's diverse music scene.

"The music scene in India is a regional language music scene, the film music, that's the biggest part ... and then there's the stand-alone bands in India," Radhakrishnan Nair, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone India, told Reuters.

That interest spans big name Bollywood music directors like A.R. Rahman to rock bands like Pentagram or Parikrama.

Nair expects Rolling Stone's stories on the international music scene will give it an edge over domestic Indian music publications, such as the Rock Street Journal, but with a well-known brand that can compete with publications focused on world music like Rave.

"We are looking at young 20 to 30 year-old (readers), but we know the magazine is quite popular with people of a slightly older demographic," Nair said.

The new edition will be priced similar to some local music magazines at 100 rupees each, compared with the previous cover price of 500 rupees for an imported copy of Rolling Stone. Initial advertisers include mobile phone maker Nokia and designer label Calvin Klein, a unit of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.

The magazine will launch on Wednesday, with readers able to choose between five different cover shots. Four of them feature international stars like Led Zeppelin and Jay-Z, and one showcases an Indian musician whose name has not been revealed.

Rolling Stone India will be the brand's 14th edition outside of the United States, and magazine executives describe the launch as timed to enter a rapidly developing music market.

"With the rock scene and the music scene there exploding in a million different directions, it just seems the perfect time for us to get in there," said Will Dana, managing editor of Rolling Stone in the United States.

MW.Com is backed by Indian industrialist Anand Mahindra and his wife, Anuradha Mahindra, who will serve as editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone India.