The publisher of iconic US music magazine Rolling Stone has announced it has put its controlling stake in the publication up for sale.

The 50-year-old magazine is hugely respected and is best known for covering music and popular culture, but also features political journalism and commentary.

Founder Jan Wenner started Rolling Stone in San Francisco in 1967 with music critic Ralph Gleason.

It has remained under the control of his company, Wenner Media, ever since.

Rolling Stone was founded in 1967

Rolling Stone has been a fixture of music commentary and US political life for decades and also nurtured music critics such as Lester Bangs, and social and political writers such as Tom Wolfe, Hunter S Thompson and PJ O'Rourke.

Its reputation for strong journalism suffered a blow after it published a false story in 2014 about an alleged rape on campus at the University of Virginia. It retracted the story in 2015, and paid out a defamation settlement.

In a sign of how far Rolling Stone has come from its counter-culture roots, Kim Kardashian has been a cover star

Despite competing in an increasingly splintered  media environment, Wenner Media said Rolling Stone still reached 60 million readers a month and its digital and social media footprint was growing rapidly.

The company said it was exploring "strategic options" in an effort "to best position the brand for future growth".

Wenner Media has already sold off its other titles Us Weekly and Men's Journal to American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer.

Wenner Media said Rolling Stone still reached 60 million readers a month

"We have made great strides transforming Rolling Stone into a multi-platform company, and we are thrilled to find the right home to build on our strong foundation," said Wenner's president and chief operating officer Gus Wenner in a statement.

Singapore-based BandLab Technologies also owns a 49% stake in the publication.