Wenner Media, the publishing house behind Rolling Stone magazine, has sold 49% of its stake in the publication to Singapore-based digital music start-up BandLab, as the company looks to expand into new global markets.
While a fee for the stake has yet to be revealed, BandLab has stated that it will “focus on expanding Rolling Stone’s business in new markets, and propelling the brand’s global evolution”.
Rolling Stone will manage the newly acquired stake in the business and, according to Bloomberg, utilise its extended reach to develop live events, merchandising and hospitality to extend its brand beyond editorial content. It has also confirmed that BandLab will have no involvement in the magazine’s editorial output.
BandLab is described as a digital music company and is headed up by Meng Ru Kuok, the 28-year-old son of palm oil billionaire Kuok Khoon Hong. The company acquired Swee Lee, a distributor of guitars and other instruments, in 2012 and, just last week, purchased San Francisco-based instrument design lab Mono. It also offers a free app that allows artists create and share music.
“We are focused on the consumer and the supply chain of music, and innovative business models around music that exist today,” said Kuok. “At the end of the day, the end consumer is the same. BandLab’s goal is to be a global music business,” he said.