The Deals: Exceleration Teams With Rounder Founders; Audoo Draws Elton John Investment


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Exceleration Music signed a strategic partnership with the founders of American independent label Rounder RecordsKen Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy and Bill Nowlin, as well as Rounder’s first and longtime president/CEO, John Virant — on their new venture, Down The Road. The new label will be focused on “the historic depth and breadth of Americana,” according to a press release, including releases from banjo player Tony Trischka, bluegrass group Blue Highway and Irish traditional music performers Dervish. It will also reissue 14 catalog titles produced by the Rounder Records co-founders in recent years. Down The Road releases will be distributed by Redeye, which Exceleration acquired in September.

Audoo — a music technology company that provides data allowing artists, songwriters, PROs and CMOs to see in real-time where their music is played, enabling them to better collect on public performance royalties — raised $5 million in its last funding round from investors including Elton John and David Furnish, bringing its total raised to $22 million. “Working as a musician can be seen as all glitz and glamour but for the vast majority of artists, especially new and emerging acts, this isn’t the case,” said John in a statement. “It’s often brutally unfair and this sadly extends into being paid correctly. Right now, artists are not being paid accurately for their plays because the data simply doesn’t exist … That’s why we’ve invested in Audoo and their world-class technology and data, to help create a more transparent system for everyone, and ultimately to keep the music alive.”


Patreon acquired livestream ticketed event platform Moment (formerly Moment House). In the coming months, “foundational elements” of Moment will be integrated into Patreon, according to a blog post. Since its founding in 2019, Moment has partnered with artists including Justin Bieber, Tame Impala and Kygo.

Warner Music Group (WMG) acquired Indian artist management and live events company E-Positive, strengthening WMG’s position in the region. On its roster, E-Positive boasts Darshan Raval, one of the most-streamed artists in India. E-Positive will continue acting as a standalone company, led by founder/CEO Naushad Khan. “Darshan, as well as the whole of the E-Positive roster, will be able to harness Warner Music’s global network and start to connect with a wider international audience,” said WMG president of emerging markets Alfonso Perez Soto in a statement. “This deal helps us to level-up and enhance our 360 offering to artists by bringing in the knowledge and expertise of Naushad to Warner Music. Our improved suite of services we will enable our artists to transcend the whole of India and help bring Indian culture to the rest of the world.”


In more WMG acquisition news, the company bought the recorded music business of Jukka Immonen‘s The Fried Music. Based in Finland, The Fried Music artists — including Anna Puu, Knipi and Viivi — will be integrated into the Warner Music roster and enjoy access to its global network. Starting on Jan. 1, 2024, Immonen will also begin serving as head of A&R at Warner Music Finland.

Mediabase has acquired the All Access music distribution business unit from Joel Denver. “Through this integration, Mediabase offers a seamless user experience by providing downloads of broadcast-quality content from our label partners,” said Mediabase president/CEO Philippe Generall in a statement. “The power of these collective platforms promises to redefine how industry professionals access and leverage media assets.”


Hook, a platform that allows users to remix and remake songs using AI, closed a $3 million seed investment round led by Steve Cohen‘s Point72 Ventures and Waverley Capital, co-founded by former Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Other participants included Mark Gillespie‘s Three Six Zero and Japanese entertainment brand Avex. The investment will be used to continue developing Hook’s platform; Hook will also collaborate with artists and record labels to develop technology to unlock new revenue streams. Founded by CEO Gaurav Sharma, Hook is planning to launch a closed beta later this year.

ASM Global extended its 10-year partnership with Onondago County, N.Y., to manage The Oncenter and St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse. Under the new deal, ASM Global will continue managing The Oncenter convention and entertainment facility — which includes the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center, the Upstate Medical Arena and three theaters in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center — as well as the St. Joseph’s Amphitheater, a 17,500-capacity outdoor concert venue.


Elsewhere at ASM Global, the company signed a long-term renewal contract to continue managing three venues in Puerto Rico: the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot arena, the Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

The Circuit Group, a new company with a stated mission to create business opportunities around artists’ intellectual property, formed a joint venture with management and production company Pivot Music (led by Paolo Mojo) and DJ-producer Rebūke. Under the partnership, Pivot and its premier act, Rebūke, along with his ERA Music label, will move under the Circuit Group umbrella. According to a press release, The Circuit Group acquires up to 50% of artists’ song catalogs, offering those artists an immediate source of revenue while also aligning their interests with Circuit Group’s vision of creating additional avenues for intellectual property. The company also invests in and strikes strategic alliances with other entities across recorded music, publishing, merchandise, brand partnerships, gaming, events, Web3 and more.


Artist-producer-multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin partnered with Lowly and Create Music Group to launch a joint-venture record label named O’Connor. The label launched on Friday (Oct. 13) with “311!”, the first single off sneek, a collaborative album between Martin and singer-songwriter Gallant. O’Connor’s executive board includes Martin, Deon Ford (Lowly’s A&R director) and Samantha Whitehead (creative director, art historian and Martin’s day-to-day manager). Under the deal, Martin will also produce for select Lowly/Create artists while assisting in A&R and artist development with Ford.

Linkfire renewed an agreement with Warner Music Group to provide its Saas marketing platform to the company globally. The agreement extends through April 30, 2024.


BMG acquired global rights to all three studio albums from Australian artist Angus Stone‘s Dope Lemon project, including 2016’s Honey Bones, 2019’s Smooth Big Cat and 2022’s Rose Pink Cadillac, as well as his 2017 EP, Hounds Tooth. BMG released Dope Lemon’s fourth studio album, Kimosabè, on Sept. 29 under a new recordings deal.

Sphere Entertainment announced that amplification technology company Powersoft contributed immersive haptic technology and amplifier solutions to Las Vegas’ Sphere venue. Powersoft technology is integrated within the venue’s 10,000 haptic seats as part of Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT.


Backline, a nonprofit that provides mental health resources to music industry workers and their families, announced a new partnership with Eventric/Master Tour, software that assists with tour logistics. Under the agreement, the Master Tour mobile app will now include an in-app button that directs users to mental health resources, including the Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Hotline and Backline’s suite of resources. Master Tour boasts a user base of over 250,000, with 55,000 active monthly users.

AI sound wellness company Endel partnered with dance music label Spinnin’ Records to create 50 AI-generated soundscape album playlists tailored for focus, relaxation, sleep, physical activity and more. The first two soundscape albums are out now, with new albums set to release every week over the next two months. All of the albums will fall under a new profile called Spinnin’ COSMOS. Artists involved in the project to date include Brazilian DJs Felguk and Italian production and DJ duo VINAI. “With this collaboration with Spinnin’, we’ve transformed hundreds of tracks from their incredible catalog into life-enhancing albums and playlists at a huge scale while retaining the iconic sound of Spinnin’ Records and its artists,” said Endel co-founder/CEO Oleg Stavitsky in a statement.


Decca Records US and the World Federation for Mental Health announced a partnership for World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10. Under the agreement, Decca US released a World Mental Health Day-themed playlist of calming music featuring artists including Chad Lawson, Cody Fry, Kings Elliot, Balmorhea, Daigo Hanada, Lara Somogyi, Sophie Hutchings and Samuel Mariño. Additionally, Decca US artist Lawson, who hosts a podcast on mental health, partnered with AI-powered sound wellness company Endel to release a meditation soundscape album featuring reimagined tracks from his album breathe.

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Virgin Music Group announced the members of its global leadership team on Thursday (Oct. 19).  The executives’ responsibilities are split across five regions. Jacqueline Saturn will serve as president of Virgin Music Group North America/executive vp of global artist relations; Thomas Lorain and Nick Roden will be co-presidents in Europe; and Victor Gonzales has been named president in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, with Cris Garcia Falcão working as MD of label and artist strategy/GM of Virgin Music Group […]


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