SINGAPORE (CelebrityAccess) — British music site New Music Express, once one of the leading music publications in the UK, has been sold to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies.
The deal – which includes NME’s social, digital, print and experiential assets, as well as Uncut, a publication focused on rock music, – is expected to complete by 31 May 2019.
TI said that all NME and Uncut staff will transfer with the sale and will continue to be based in the Blue Fin Building in London. TI said they anticipate no interruption to Uncut’s publishing schedule.
BandLab, a music technology platform that allows fans to collaboratively create and share music via social media, was set up by 30-year-old Cambridge graduate Meng Ru Kuok, the son of Kuok Khoon Hong, a wealthy commodities trader and CEO of Wilmar International.
Marcus Rich, CEO of TI Media, says: “NME and Uncut will always have a special place in our story. Their reputation for stand-out, award-winning journalism spanning seven decades goes well beyond the world of music and I’m proud they’ve attained that status as part of our company.
“At the same time, we need to recognize that to achieve the next stage of their evolution, NME and Uncut will be better placed with a business that has music at its heart. Under BandLab Technologies’ ambitious ownership and direction, I’m confident both of these truly iconic brands will thrive.”
NME, which began as the “Accordion Times and Musical Express” before it became essential reading for the music world in the 1950s with the debut of its singles chart, has fallen on hard times in the era of digital media. Last March, NME announced that it was ceasing its print publication in the face of declining circulation, even after relaunching as a free publication in 2015.
According to the Financial Times, the sale marks the first time since 1962 that NME has changed hands.
BandLab previously held a 49% stake of the American music publication Rolling Stone but sold it to Penske Media Group in January. BandLab’s current portfolio includes Guitar.com and MusicTech.
According to the FT, TI was not seeking to sell NME but was approached by BandLab about a possible sale of the brand. The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.