The 30-year authority on popular culture has joined with the world's largest online service to bring millions of AOL members only rock 'n' roll because they like it.
Music is a hot topic on the Web as service providers rush to add glitzy but rich content to their sites. Microsoft Network will launch an online serialization of former Rolling Stone writer Fred Goodman's book, "The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and the Head-On Collision of Rock and Commerce." But MTV has been rocking the Web longer than most with its site. Rolling Stone launched its Web site in October.
Rolling Stone's home on AOL hosts news, reviews, biweekly features, live interviews, and weekly reports from college music scenes across the country, according to the magazine. It will contain 95 percent original content.
Special to the AOL site, Rolling Stone Online will have interactive cover stories with behind-the-scenes pictures and original content like a short story by Bret Easton Ellis, in which the novelist will write the first chapter and users will contribute the rest over several months.
The site will also have an archive of past covers. Right now, it showcases the editor picks for sexiest covers, including Friends star Jennifer Anniston and Janet Jackson in different stages of undress.
Other sections include Rewind, a detailed a history of rock 'n' roll through Rolling Stone's eyes, a photo gallery, and at the beginning of next year, online chats with musicians.
As with the magazine, Rolling Stone Online is tapping the college-age audience with the AOL site. For example, in its multimedia presentation of its year-end double issue, featuring Pamela Anderson Lee and MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head, Rolling Stone Online has outtakes from the cover photo shoot, downloadable sound clips, video clips, and biographies.
Articles editor Bob Love said the site will be updated daily, weekly, and biweekly. The Rolling Stone audience needs to get rock news on the Web, he said.
"Rolling Stone covers popular culture and music through a prism of youth. The Web is very, very vital to young people. We found out through internal surveys that 35 percent of our readership has access to the Web or an online service."
Because Rolling Stone is the definitive source on what's hot (and not), then its marriage with AOL may be saying something more about who will be the online service of future generations: Rolling Stone's site on CompuServe went dark in June.