Condé Nast, the publishing giant that owns such iconic brands as Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker, announced yesterday that it has acquired Pitchfork Media for an undisclosed sum. Pitchfork’s digital video efforts — including its YouTube channel — will become part of the Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) network. Pitchfork had previously been affiliated with the Collective Digital Studio network, which it joined in April 2015.
The acquisition was led by Fred Santarpia, chief digital officer of Condé Nast, to whom the Pitchfork team will report.
“Music content is one of the most prolific genres of content on the web,” said Santarpia in a statement. “The acquisition of Pitchfork reflects Condé Nast’s continued belief in the power of authentic editorial voices to engage influential audiences at scale.”
The Chicago-based Pitchfork’s flagship property is its website, Pitchfork.com, featuring news, reviews and features, along with streaming audio and video. It won the 2013 National Magazine Award for General Excellence, Digital, as well as numerous Webby Awards for digital design, writing and video, including the 2013 Webby Award for Best Entertainment Video Channel.
Founded by Ryan Schreiber in Minneapolis as a website named Turntable in 1995, it changed its name to Pitchfork the following year. Pitchfork also hosts the annual Pitchfork Music Festivals in Chicago and Paris, as well as annual events at SXSW and CMJ, and publishes the print quarterly The Pitchfork Review.
In 2008, the company launched its YouTube channel, which has gone on to rack up more than 430K subscribers and 162 million views with its collection of full-length music documentaries about artists such as The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, performance videos and live streams, as well as the animated series “Frames.”
According to a press release announcing the acquisition, Pitchfork’s web properties have over six million monthly unique visitors and its social following has grown over four million followers and fans.
CNÉ’s digital video network includes 19 individual brand channels with full programming lineups, as well as the digital video hub The Scene, featuring nearly 40 channels of programming from Condé Nast brands ranging from Allure and Architectural Digest to Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as content partners including AOL, Billboard, BuzzFeed, College Humor, Major League Soccer, PBS Digital Studios, Red Bull, SoulPancake, The Onion, The Weather Channel, Variety and Warner Music. To date, CNÉ has produced more than 4,000 videos, which, according to the company, have delivered more than 2.7 billion views annually since the channels launched in 2013.