Rolling Stone is perhaps one of the most quintessential publication for anyone following the American music and entertainment scene.
For 49 years, it has provided its readers throughout the world with interviews of the most popular artists, celebrities, and even politicians, along with heavy doses of pop culture.
Earlier yesterday – something big just happened, and it involves a startup from Singapore.
49 Percent To Bandlab
According to Bloomberg, Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner, will be letting go 49% of the publication to a Singapore company Bandlab without ceding majority control. This is the first time in the publication’s 49 year history that an external investor has been brought in.
So who is this mysterious investor that has ventured into the fray? It turns out to be a relatively unknown Singaporean startup called Bandlab Technologies.
Bandlab is the startup behind the app, of the same name, that lets you create and share your own musical masterpieces online with other users from around the world, whether you are just a hobbyist or a serious musician.
If the name of the company rings another bell, well that’s because its founder is none other than Kuok Meng Ru, Managing Director of Swee Lee Music, and more famously known as the son of palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong.
Because Of A Common Love For Music
It is no secret that Kuok Meng Ru is a music lover, having been introduced to Eric Clapton by his father, which fueled his love for the blues guitar and B.B. King. He transformed Swee Lee Music from a sleepy guitar store, taking it online and venturing into musical education, and now, becoming Southeast Asia’s largest distributor of musical instruments and audio equipment.
When he met Jann Wenner’s son, Gus, who was in charge of the negotiations, they hit it off straight away, as Bloomberg found out. Seeing each other as peers, and desperate to be rid of their fathers’ shadows, both were entrepreneurs who used to play in bands too, and they found a common passion for Bob Dylan and guitars.
So what does this deal represent for Bandlab?
Well for one, while the main publication will stay untouched, a subsidiary company called Rolling Stone International will be headquartered right in Singapore, with the aim of developing live events, concerts, merchandising and hospitality, to promote the Rolling Stone brand into the Asian demographic.
The next time that you are attending a concert, it may just be a Rolling Stone branded one.
Featured Image Credit: Bloomberg