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Penske Media gains full control of Rolling Stone

Jay Penske, chairman and chief executive of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), has purchased the remaining 49% of Rolling Stone, following a majority takeover in 2017.

The media and publishing entrepreneur now has complete ownership of the music brand, bringing to an end founder Jann Wenner’s 50 year ownership.

PMC bought up 51% of the magazine in December 2017, purchasing the rest from minority owner BandLab Technologies on 22 January. BandLab bought up the $40 million share in September 2016, overseeing an international subsidiary of the company focused on live events, merchandise and hospitality.

Panske’s media corporation owns other entertainment industry publications, including Variety, Deadline and Hollywood Life.

“The need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear”

Since 2017, PMC has taken the magazine monthly, redesigned the print edition and website and expanded the events component. The media corporation now has full control the famous brand, including its live event, licensing rights and international editions.

Penske informed staff of the news on Thursday, saying: “In the twelve months since PMC’s initial investment, the need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear and something that BandLab and their leadership team also recognised and were in full support of.”

PMC purchased the 49% Rolling Stone stake from Singaporean start-up BandLab Technologies,

Rolling Stone founder Wenner opened the doors to external investors in 2016 after many years of resistance, following a drop in advertisement revenues.

 


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Innovations to agony aunts: IQ78 out now

The July issue of IQ is now available online, and with a packed 64 pages it’s ideal for delving into on that long plane journey to your summer holiday destination, next festival site or business conference.

Issue 78 sees us commemorate a significant milestone for UK promoter Triple A Entertainment and examine 2018’s freshest new festival formats. We measure the pulse of the live music industry in Australia and New Zealand, and elsewhere features include the thriving touring exhibitions sector and international staging.

Elsewhere, AEG’s Jim King provides insight into the ethos behind the company’s successful new All Points East festival in London, while Nathalie Cox of CountryLine discusses the growth in popularity of country music outside of the United States. Our news analysis, meanwhile, delves into such subjects as corporate investment in the international festival market and the development of the live music industry in Africa.

And as if all that wasn’t enough for you, our resident Agony Auntie, Alex Hardee, provides advice to readers who are experiencing business-related difficulties – it’s a must read!

To get your fix of essential live music industry features, comment and analysis in premium print format, click here to subscribe to IQ now.

 


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VIP-Booking acquires Musicverb

VIP-Booking, the Denmark-based live entertainment information service, has taken over Musicverb, which offers marketing software for artists and booking agents in 20 countries.

Ronni Didriksen, founder & CEO of VIP-Booking, says: We know that the live music B2B business is becoming more and more sophisticated, so taking over Musicverb.com makes sense as we can now offer [its] clients even more powerful services to help them make their everyday work better, faster and more accurate.”

Rui Santos Couto (pictured), who founded Oporto-based Musicverb in 2014, comments: “We grew significantly in 2016. In 2017, we wanted to boost that growth and attack the market leadership.

“VIP-Booking has worked in this industry for many years, they have great products and they know what they are doing. The clients at Musicverb.com will now have access to an even better service and I’m sure they will benefit from this deal.”

 


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BandLab eyes live market with Rolling Stone stake

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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Musikmarkt to shut down

German music industry magazine Musikmarkt is to cease publication next month.

The Musikmarkt news website will also be shut down in July, says editor Stefan Zarges, who announced the news with “great sadness” in his most recent editor’s letter.

“It was a hard decision,” writes Zarges, “but in spite of new ideas, business models and permanent adjustment of the market we’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.”

Musikmart was launched in 1959 by Munich publisher Josef Keller Verlag and has long been, along with newer competitor MusikWoche, one of Germany’s leading music business publications. Like MusikWoche (and its English-language namesake, Music Week), Musikmarkt is published weekly and contains the official German top 100 singles and album charts.

Musikmarkt has taken part in all the ups and downs of the music industry and made music history by itself,” continues Zarges. “After years of crisis and pessimism the industry succeeded in reinventing itself, which made us feel optimistic about the future. It is a great pity that we cannot support these positive developments any more.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to our partners for [their] cooperation in recent years and wish them success and all the best for the future.”

 


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