Singapore social music startup buys 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone magazine

BandLab Technologies says it plans to set up an international subsidiary in Singapore to build up its business and drive Rolling Stone's expansion into new markets including Asia.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Singapore social music startup, BandLab Technologies, has acquired a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone magazine with plans to expand the business in Asia.

No financial details involved in the deal were revealed, but it marked the first time Rolling Stone's publisher Wenner Media was taking on an external investor. The agreement would not include ownership of privately-held Wenner Media, which was founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner.

Set up last year, BandLab offers a cloud-based platform and apps for users to create and share music. The startup was co-founded by 28-year-old Kuok Meng Ru, who is the son of Singaporean palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong. Early this month, it acquired San Francisco-based design studio, Mono Creators, which creates accessories for music instruments.

BandLab would not be involved in the magazine's editorial direction, which would continue to be led out of New York, but would lead a new global subsidiary based in Singapore to build up live events and merchandising. To be named Rolling Stone International, the new setup would drive the magazine's global expansion into new markets as well as Asia.

The magazine says it has an international readership of 65 million, including 22 million monthly US digital users and 12 million US print readers. It issues 12 international editions across countries that include Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and India.

"We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business," said Wenner Media's head of digital and Wenner's 26-year-old son, Gus Wenner.

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