A storied publishing giant aims to boost its street cred with the purchase of the biggest independent music publication on the Internet. Condé Nast announced Tuesday that it has acquired Pitchfork Media, the digital music magazine started nine years ago in Chicago that’s since grown into an events company, video producer and tastemaker for hire.
“Music content is one of the most prolific genres of content on the Web,” Condé Nast Chief Digital Officer Fred Santarpia said in a press release. “The acquisition of Pitchfork reflects Condé Nast’s continued belief in the power of authentic editorial voices to engage influential audiences at scale.”
While music tastes have atomized and music culture has fragmented, Pitchfork has remained a hub for fans of up-and-coming, independent, experimental pop music. The site attracts more than 6 million readers every month, according to comScore. Adding that number to the rest of Condé Nast's digital portfolio would bring the publisher, which is home to Wired, Vogue and Bon Appétit, within shouting distance of competitors like Hearst (92 million visitors per month) and Time Inc. (102 million visitors per month). Condé Nast's websites drew 84 million visitors in August, an all-time high.
“We're honored to become part of their family,” Pitchfork founder and CEO Ryan Schreiber said in a press release. “Pitchfork is incredibly fortunate to have found in Condé Nast a team of people who share our commitment to editorial excellence.”
Condé Nast is also buying a company that has begun to make a name for itself in events, an increasingly vital space for legacy publishers looking for more ways to squeeze money out of their brands. In addition to the Pitchfork Music Festivals, which are held yearly in Chicago and Paris, the company has begun lending its name to other music festivals, including MoMA PS1. This January, Pitchfork teamed with Lexus for a number of parties in Los Angeles oriented around Pitchfork Radio, which is available on TuneIn.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.