Vinyl Group now has a fourth pillar.
Following the completion of its acquisition of The Brag Media, the Sydney-based music and tech specialist doubles-down on its mission to build revenue and integrate its new asset.
As previously reported, the transaction is funded with a new investment by billionaire WiseTech Global founder and CEO Richard White, by way of an A$11 million ($7.5 million) placement and debt facility, uniting the only music specialist company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) with the market leader in premium youth content and events.
“Our real mission or vision that we all have in the company is to empower and power all facets and parts of the music ecosystem,” Vinyl Group CEO Josh Simons tells Billboard.
When the group, previously known as Jaxsta, prior to a rebrand in early December, spotted an opportunity with The Brag Media, “we also knew that the company was going to evolve into more of a portfolio music company,” Simons continues.
Prior to the purchase, Vinyl Group’s portfolio was built on the three pillars of its music credits business Jaxsta; the leading music industry social-professional network and talent marketplace Vampr; and Vinyl.com, the online record store. The Brag Media, with its range of titles including Rolling Stone AU/NZ, Variety Australia, Tone Deaf and trade title The Music Network, is its fourth pillar.
Vinyl.com is a “very fast growing ecommerce platform, it speaks to the fan,” Simons continues, “but a huge part of connecting the dots here is connecting fans as creators, and media and events and everything that The Brag does, fills that gap.” When the opportunity came across the table, and “when we knew what direction they were boldly headed in, it made a lot of sense and got us excited very quickly.”
The amalgamation of both business presents “some really obvious low hanging synergies,” he explains, pointing to sales synergies between Vampr and The Brag Media as one example, “but broadly speaking, it plugged a hole in this broader flywheel of servicing all participants in the music ecosystem.”
People, product and process – “that’s really always my focus,” explains Simons.
The co-founder of Vampr, Simons was elevated from chief strategy officer to CEO in June 2023, succeeding Beth Appleton, who stepped down as CEO with immediate effect.
“Revenue, cost efficiency and profitability remain the top priorities for Jaxsta,” Simons commented at the time of his ascension, “and I look forward to building on the current momentum.”
The agenda remains the same.
“The headline KPI was four quarters of consecutive revenue growth and moving towards profitability,” Simons says. “Under my tenure, we’ve released three quarters of performance. And in each quarter, we’ve averaged 204%, quarter over quarter.” The Brag deal “turbo charges that”.
The completion of the acquisition was confirmed with a statement Feb. 1, when stock was trading at $0.063. At the close of trading today (Feb. 8), VNL stock was trading at $0.066, for a market cap of $41.73 million.
Prior to the deal going through, The Brag Media bolstered its executive team with a triumvirate of appointments. Dane Robertson returned to the company in the newly-created role as head of client and event partnerships in Australia and New Zealand, following a stretch at media firm Pedestrian Group. Also, Denise Barnes joined as client projects director following six-plus years with lifestyle site Man of Many, most recently as head of branded content, and Anan Salvarinas joined the team as senior creative strategist, following two-and-a-half years with LADbible Australia, including a recent run as senior creative (brand).
This year is an “important” one for the business “as we focus on integrating The Brag Media into Vinyl Group’s properties as well as continued strong growth of our technology products,” explains Simons in the Feb. 1 statement to the ASX. “We now have a very clear path to profitability.”