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In an effort to “own the topic of music online,” the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group has acquired SpinMedia, whose assets include Spin, Vibe and Stereogum. This means that the company is now the world’s largest online music brand and its sites will see traffic of about 45 million per month as a result. It will now reach 1 out of every 3 millennials, a powerful benefit for advertisers. The Media Group has also partnered with Facebook to create custom content for the recently launched Facebook Live.
While this sounds like a great business move on Billboard’s part, since millennials don’t read Billboard or the Hollywood Reporter (unless they happen to be in the entertainment industry), it’s probably not so good for Spin, Vibe and Stereogum in the long run. Those sites were vibrant when run by the founders (except for Spin, which was acquired by BuzzMedia, which then rebranded as SpinMedia in 2012), but much of that street knowledge and connection is diminished once the corporate suits get involved.
While it’s not impossible for a news website to maintain its audience once it’s acquired, it does start to lose its edge and it’s only a matter of time until something newer and edgier comes along. That won’t happen overnight though, so if you’re a regular visitor to those sites, you probably won’t see an immediate change. That said, it should be interesting to see how things evolve over time as the suits get more involved.