More than a month after it abruptly shuttered ComicsAlliance and AOL Music, AOL is expected to announce today that it has sold the comics blog and three music websites to Townsquare Media Group. The staffs will join the Connecticut-based media and digital-marketing company, which owns 243 radio stations and a growing number of websites, including ScreenCrush and PopCrush.
UPDATE (6 a.m.): And, just like that, ComicsAlliance has returned with new content, beginning with a comics explanation of the website's history. (Original story continues below.)
The purchase by Townsquare reunites ComicsAlliance and the music sites with Bill Wilson, the company's executive vice president and chief digital officer, who helped to develop the properties during his tenure as president of AOL Media.
"I wanted to make sure you saw that we were able to acquire some of the aol music assets (and Comics Alliance)," Wilson tweeted this morning. "Very excited!"
AOL shut down the sites April 26, informing the staffs that day during a round of conference calls. The news came so suddenly that contributors were unable to publish any kind of farewell to readers: ComicsAlliance's "final" post was a previously scheduled link roundup that appeared April 29; the item eventually drew nearly 300 comments from readers about the loss of the site.
However, the ComicsAlliance staff began teasing a possible resurrection May 20 with three posts featuring the heartbeat sequence from The Dark Knight Returns, a shot of the Pit from The Dark Knight Rises, and a page from Batman: Birth of the Demon.
Update 2: Here's the official press release:
TOWNSQUARE MEDIA GROUP AGREES TO ACQUIRE CERTAIN ASSETS OF AOL MUSIC AND COMICSALLIANCETownsquare Media Group to Add Music and Entertainment-Focused Digital Properties to Diversified Asset Portfolio
Greenwich, CT – June 3, 2013 – Townsquare Media Group announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire AOL Music assets The Boot (http://www.theboot.com/), The BoomBox (http://www.theboombox.com/) and NoiseCreep (http://www.noisecreep.com/) as well as ComicsAlliance (http://www.comicsalliance.com/) from AOL Inc. The new digital properties will join Townsquare Media Group’s national digital business, a portfolio of premium music and entertainment websites which reach over 52 million US monthly unique visitors and include Taste of Country (http://tasteofcountry.com/), PopCrush (http://popcrush.com/), ScreenCrush (http://screencrush.com/) and Okayplayer (http://www.okayplayer.com/).
AOL Music is considered a pioneer in digital music, creating The Boot, The Boombox and NoiseCreep to expand its scope into Country Music, Hip Hop and R&B and heavy metal, respectively.
ComicsAlliance is one of the most important and established online voices in the comic book industry. The site, a three-time and 2013 nominee for the industry’s esteemed Eisner Award, has hosted its own panel at ComicCon and has been featured on The Daily Show and in New York Magazine.
“The acquisition of these assets from AOL represents the continued rapid growth of Townsquare Media’s portfolio of owned and operated music and entertainment websites,” commented Townsquare Media Group Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “Adding these premium brands to Townsquare Media’s comprehensive offering propels our scale beyond today’s 52 million US monthly unique visitors, allowing advertisers and agencies even greater access to this highly engaged and demographically desirable audience.”
As part of the transaction, members of the AOL Music and ComicsAlliance teams will be working with Townsquare Media’s team going forward. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.