Singapore-based social music company BandLab Technologies has recently announced its acquisition of a 49% stake in long-running equity stake in American rock and culture magazine Rolling Stone. The Singapore-based startup and app functions allows its creators to collaborate online with musicians and fans.
The partnership is expected to see BandLab and Rolling Stone set up an international arm for the latter in Singapore, and the brand launch into the events space in Asia. According to Bloomberg, post the acquisition, BandLab would not be participating in editorial operations but rather on a new subsidiary called Rolling International, which will develop live events, merchandising and hospitality” around the world.
Rolling Stone, owned by magazine publisher Wenner Media, has a growth of 40% of its average monthy unique visitors in Q1 2016 for RollingStone.com compared to the same time last year.
Meng Ru has made a series of investments in the music business. He acquired Composr, a music-making app for iOS and web, as well as Mono Creators, a San Francisco based company producing instrument cases and accessories and also Swee Lee, a 70 year-old retailer and wholesaler of music instruments back in 2012.
The full press release from Rolling Stone as below:
Singapore – September 25, 2016 – Rolling Stone, the leading voice of music and popular culture for nearly 50 years, today announced the formation of a strategic partnership with BandLab Technologies, who will take a 49% minority stake in Rolling Stone, alongside parent Wenner Media.
BandLab Technologies will focus on expanding Rolling Stone’s business in new markets, and propelling the brand’s global evolution. The BandLab Technologies portfolio of companies and affiliates, led and co-founded by Meng Ru Kuok, includes digital, brand and retail businesses in the music category that complement the continued growth of Rolling Stone.
Through this partnership, Rolling Stone International, a fully-owned subsidiary, will be formed to build on the brand’s worldwide appeal and recognition. Working closely with Rolling Stone’s New York-based team, Mr Kuok will lead Rolling Stone International, to be headquartered in Singapore.
“We are thrilled to have found an extraordinary partner for Rolling Stone as we focus on the brand’s global expansion,” said Gus Wenner, Head of Digital of Wenner Media.
“We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business.”
“Rolling Stone’s impact on culture over the years has been immeasurable and I’m truly honored to be joining the team on the next phase of its journey,” said Meng Kuok, CEO and Co-Founder of BandLab.
“I look forward to working closely with Gus to take the brand bravely into the future and to realize its global potential.”
Kuok’s broader business interests and profound love of music fundamentally align with Rolling Stone. In 2012, he acquired Swee Lee Music and transformed the business model of a 70 year old retail and wholesale business into the leading regional online and offline provider of integrated musical services in Southeast Asia.
BandLab, the group’s flagship digital product, is a next-generation social music platform that enables creators to make music and share the creative process with collaborators and fans.
Rolling Stone currently reaches a global audience of over 65 million people, including approximately 22 million domestic digital monthly users, nearly 18 million social fans and followers, and close to 12 million readers of the U.S. print publication.