Billboard parent company Valence Media is suddenly selling off Spin and Stereogum. The move comes just three years after acquiring both music publications.
Spin is going to Next Management Partners, a private equity firm specializing in digital media.
Valence says Spin’s audience has grown over 40% since the site successfully rebranded. Valence brought back the brand’s black and white logo from 1985.
Next Management Partners will assume all assets, and the editorial team will continue publishing content. The equity firm’s Twitter profile says it “specializes in providing strategic capital for digital publishing and advertising technologies.”
Separately, the leadership of Stereogum has reached an agreement with Valence to repurchase the publication. Founder and Editor-In-Chief Scott Lapatine will become Stereogum’s CEO, and one of its principals. That’s not exactly the happiest of endings, though it does give Stereogum its independence back.
Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media group acquired both Spin and Stereogum in 2016. Vibe was also part of the initial deal, but it will remain with its current owners.
It’s unclear why Vibe is staying and the others departing, though Valance is undoubtedly analyzing its bets from a number of demographic and financial lenses.
“As we’ve recently rolled out our new content strategy at Billboard and Vibe and have put our focus on data through the acquisition of Nielsen’s suite of music products and team, we’re at a point of transformation with our music media brands,” the statement reads. “It is a bittersweet moment as we announce new opportunities for Spin and Stereogum and bid farewell to these iconic and venerable music brands and their dedicated teams.”
So what’s next at Stereogum? Scott Lapatine excitedly shared the news with his Twitter followers early this morning. This marks the first time that Stereogum will be an independent publication since Pilot Group bought it in 2006. Stereogum got its start on the internet way back in 2002 — and almost unrecognizable internet era from the viewpoint of 2020.