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BandLab eyes live market with Rolling Stone stake

BandLab Technologies, founded by 28-year-old Singaporean Kuok Meng Ru, will oversee an international subsidiary developing events, merch and hospitality

By IQ on 27 Sep 2016

Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone, Kevin Fitzsimons/Wexner Center

image © Kevin Fitzsimons/Wexner Center

BandLab Technologies, the Singapore-based start-up which this week acquired a 49% stake in Rolling Stone, plans to turn the storied magazine brand into a Live Nation-style entertainment powerhouse, it has emerged.

Rolling Stone, founded in November 1967 by current publisher Jann Wenner (pictured), has resisted outside investment for close to 50 years, but faced with declining advertising income – it lost over US$50 million in ad revenues between 2006 and 2013 – now appears to be seeking to diversify its product offering.

Bloomberg Gadfly’s Tim Culpan writes that BandLab “plans to take on the likes of Live Nation by leveraging the Rolling Stone brand for a move into events, merchandising and hospitality throughout Asia.

BandLab will not have any editorial input, but instead oversee a Rolling Stone International subsidiary focused on live events, merch and hospitality

“While revenue at Pearson, Gannett and News Corp. has declined over the past few years, that of Live Nation has risen steadily, driven by growing concert revenue that’s helped lure more sponsorship dollars. Concerts and events are hard to pirate, and while readers can easily replace one title with another, a Katy Perry concert is no substitute for a Taylor Swift concert.”

BandLab, whose core business is a cloud-based platform for music creation and sharing, is the creation of Kuok Meng Ru, the 28-year-old son of billionaire Singaporean tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong. The company has not acquired a stake in the magazine’s publisher, Wenner Media, and will not, says Rolling Stone, have any editorial input, but oversee a Rolling Stone International subsidiary focused on live events, merch and hospitality.

“I look forward to working closely with Gus [Wenner’s son and Rolling Stone’s digital director] to take the brand bravely into the future and to realise its global potential,” says Kuok.

 


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