After Selling Its Last Magazine, Legendary NME Has a Brand-New Owner

photo: Badgreeb Records (CC 2.0)
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If you want to date yourself, one way is to wax about the articles you’ve read in NME.

And there are some great articles.

But the storied British music pub released its last paper edition last year, thanks to predictable profitability issues in the digital era.  The NME brand continued online, though its 66-year run as a physical magazine had come to a very literal and symbolic end.

But can the fabled NME brand be reinvented in a wildly different digital era?

Now, there’s a brand-new owner.  Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, which previously owned 49% of Rolling Stone, has purchased NME and another British music mag, Uncut.  The seller is TI Media, a London-based company that has opted to offload the properties.

BandLab, which also has some pretty interesting collaboration tech, is taking control of both magazines’ digital assets.  And, whatever’s left on the physical side.

BandLab told Digital Music News that both deals are expected to formally close by May 31st.

It’s unclear what staffing changes will come next, though all existing employees will be shifted to the Blue Fin Building in London.

“We are very excited to welcome NME and Uncut to the BandLab Technologies family,” relayed Meng Kuok, founder and CEO of BandLab Technologies.  “These brands occupy a treasured place in the UK music landscape and increasing relevance to the global music scene, which we are looking to enhance and extend.”

Let’s see what the bigger vision is for BandLab.  Although the revenue picture at both of these publications may be tricky, BandLab undoubtedly hopes to leverage the respective brand equities for greater gain.  “These two media brands will play an important role in continuing our vision to create a connected world of music.”

Incidentally, BandLab also owns a few other music publications, including Guitar Magazine.  It previously sold its stake in Rolling Stone to Penske Media Corporation (PMC), though there’s clearly a broader strategic idea involving the purchase of storied music pubs.