NME and Uncut Magazine Sold to Singapore-Based BandLab Technologies

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A year after publishing its final print edition, legendary British rock magazine New Musical Express (NME) has been sold to Singapore-based music and tech company BandLab Technologies. NME's current owner, TI Media (formerly Time Inc. UK) also unloaded the UK-based music magazine Uncut as part of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the month.     

NME and Uncut join other recent acquisitions Guitar.com and MusicTech in BandLab's media portfolio. The company's flagship product is a social music platform, also called BandLab.

"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," said Meng Kuok, CEO of BandLab Technologies. "These two media brands will play an important role in continuing our vision to create a connected world of music."   

Financial details of the deal aren't being disclosed, the company told Billboard. BandLab also said it doesn't anticipate any cuts in staffing at either title and noted that Uncut's publishing schedule will remain unchanged. A spokesperson said any decisions about possibly resurrecting a print edition of NME would be made after closing of the deal.  

NME scrapped its print edition in May 2018, with TI Media citing rising productions costs and a bleak advertising market. The storied brand launched in 1952 as a music newspaper and shifted to a magazine format in the late 1990s. The title dropped its cover price in September 2015, becoming a free weekly geared more towards a mainstream pop-loving audience.

Uncut launched in May 1997 with former Melody Maker editor Allan Jones at the helm. Whereas NME has zeroed in on a more youth-oriented audience, Uncut has staked a claim on slightly older rock fans, with lengthy features and interviews covering artists like Radiohead, the Rolling Stones, U2 and this month's cover stars, The Black Keys.

"NME and Uncut will always have a special place in our story," said TI Media CEO Marcus Rich of the pending sale. "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."

Rich added that "at the same time, we need to recognise 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."