Entertainment giant The Brag Media is continuing to strengthen its publishing network after acquiring Sydney-based music industry news site The Music Network (TMN) today for an undisclosed amount.
Led by publisher Jake Challenor for the past five years, TMN will add more than 360,000 monthly readers to its new owner’s current reach of 40 million monthly page views and eight million users.
The purchase will see TMN join The Brag Media’s umbrella of brands such as Rolling Stone Australia, Variety, IndieWire, Billboard, thebrag.com, Tone Deaf, don’t bore us, Funimation, Enthusiast Gaming, Life Without Andy, HypeBeast, and more.
As part of the deal, Challenor will join The Brag Media as executive editor (B2B) and be responsible for the editorial direction of The Industry Observer – a music industry news and analysis tool - TMN and future trade titles.
Challenor told Business News Australia that he's had a longstanding relationship with The Brag Media, and was "very keen to be a part" of the company's "ambitious plans".
"We've been having [these conversations] for many years at this point and it just felt like the right time to bring The Music Network across. The Brag Media has ambitious plans in the trade media space and there's more to come," he said.
"I've really enjoyed being the publisher of The Music Network but ultimately my love is on the content side as a journalist. So for me, it means that I get to focus on that fully.
"I think having that church and state separation and just being able to focus on the content and tap into their already existing excellent commercial team will just make for a better product."
He also said the deal signals The Brag Media’s commitment to supporting independent business journalism within Australia’s billion-dollar entertainment industry.
“If you can’t beat them, join them,” he said.
“Luke, Joel and Poppy have built a formidable business. I’ve been so impressed by The Brag Media’s meteoric rise, that it made the decision to sell The Music Network and join the team an easy one for me.
“The Music Network has been independent since day one, unapologetically telling the stories that matter most to its readers.”
Founded as a paper-based publication 27 years ago by artist manager John Woodruff, TMN initially began as a black and white tip sheet for radio programmers before transforming into a weekly glossy colour magazine for the industry at large.
Challenor explains while The Industry Observer will double down on its coverage of the Australian live sector, TMN will remain focused on the business of music.
"The Music Network is so embedded in the Australian music industry," Challenor said.
"Moving it within The Brag - which already runs The Industry Observer - we can now differentiate the voices between those two publications. Rather than the two of them working against each other on the news cycle, we can create really siloed voices for the two main sectors within the industry. The live sector, which will sit under The Industry Observer and the recorded sector, which will sit under The Music Network."
"What that means is that we'll be able to do better, more in-depth contextual reporting to both of those sectors. We'll be able to cover more because we won't be overlapping on the same stories."
The acquisition comes two weeks after The Brag Media snatched digital activations company Epic Digital, which allows the media powerhouse to enter the world of advertising sales in gaming and anime for the first time.
Lars Brandle (previously senior writer for TMN) and Vivienne Kelly (previously content director for TMN) will work across The Brag Media’s trade division as senior journalists, reporting to Challenor.
Poppy Reid - who served as The Music Network’s editor during her seven-year tenure before joining The Brag Media in 2017 – has also been promoted to The Brag Media’s editor-in-chief.
She said the opportunity to reunite with the publication on which she cut her teeth as a music journalist is not only a full-circle moment, but one she had been hoping for since she left it.
“The Music Network has had a special place in my heart ever since I joined the company as an intern back in 2010,” she said.
“It gave me my start, and I've loved watching it go from strength to strength under Jake's leadership.
“He's always had a way of honouring the title's respected history and deep industry ties, while keeping it future-focused with a unique perspective.”
“Jake is an incredible media professional who cares deeply about the music industry and that is reflected in how incredible The Music Network’s content and growth has been since he took ownership. We are so thrilled to welcome him as a Bragger.”
The Brag Media managing editor Poppy Reid, CEO Luke Girgis & COO Joel King
Brag Media CEO Luke Girgis congratulated Reid on her promotion.
“Poppy was Bragger #1 all the way back in 2017,” he said.
“From day one we worked together building the vision, team and culture of the company. Everything we have achieved at The Brag Media has happened under Poppy’s leadership - she has an incredible ability to take insane and ambitious ideas and turn them into a reality.
“Poppy is a Bragger to her core making this promotion absolutely reflective of all her work every day at The Brag Media.”
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