Music Industry Moves: Concord Strikes $468 Million Deal for Round Hill Fund; Exceleration Acquires Redeye Distribution

Alchemy Copyrights, which is trading as the indie music giant Concord, has agreed terms on a deal to acquire the entirety of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund, the U.K.-listed fund operated by Round Hill Music for approximately USD $468.8 million, the two companies said in an announcement Friday (Sept. 8). The deal is part of more than $2 billion Concord has spent in music and theatrical transactions since 2015.

The fund’s sprawling assets consist of 51 catalogs and over 150,000 songs, including interest in early Beatles hits like “She Loves You” and “I Saw Here Standing There” as well as songs recorded by the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, John Lee Hooker, Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson and more, as noted by Music Business Worldwide. It also owns a stake in the Carlin catalog, which includes hits made famous by artists including Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Peggy Lee and George Harrison.

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+ Exceleration Music has acquired Redeye, a major global digital and physical distribution and music services company. The acquisition also encompasses Redeye’s in-house labels Yep Roc and Sundazed, and its publishing company Riff City Sounds.

Under the terms of the agreement, Redeye founders Glenn Dicker and Tor Hansen have become shareholders in Exceleration Music and will continue to lead Redeye, maintaining its existing team and infrastructure in tandem with Exceleration’s partners and team. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Redeye represents several of the world’s top independent labels, in the USA and globally, including Beggars Group, Domino, New West, Yep Roc, Sundazed, Saddle Creek, Mom+Pop, Kemado/Mexican Summer, Stones Throw, Warp, Drag City, Real Gone, Innovative Leisure, Carpark, !K7, Thrill Jockey, Luaka Bop, Partisan, Sargent House, Ninja Tune, Barsuk, Daptone, the Exceleration labels and more.

Thursday, Sept. 7

In what is being billed as the first global partnership company of its kind, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Sphere Entertainment and Oak View Group have announced Crown Properties Collection, a new entity that will manage partnerships with sports and entertainment brands and venues worldwide. The endeavor brings together the MSG family of companies and OVG, which is the largest developer of sports and entertainment venues. Jay Voelker, formerly of PGA, will join OVG as president to lead CPC and will report to OVG CEO Tim Lieweke.

According to the announcement, the OVG-led entity will represent the most important brand assets in the sports and live entertainment industry. In addition to being founding partners, MSG Entertainment and Sphere Entertainment will also serve as CPC’s first clients, with CPC overseeing the global partnership and sponsorship representation of all brands and properties across the MSG family of companies, including Sphere (which opens in Las Vegas on September 29), Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre, The Chicago Theatre, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, MSG Networks, the Radio City Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular. Global partnership sales and strategy will be managed by CPC, while the MSG family of companies will provide expertise and advisory services to CPC, as well as retain partnership activation and fulfillment – leveraging the companies’ well-established track record in successfully developing and executing unique partnerships with the world’s leading brands.

“Crown Properties Collection’s purpose is to provide unprecedented global representation for world-renowned sports and entertainment brands and venues, and there is no greater portfolio to begin with than the MSG family of companies’ world-class assets. I am honored to join OVG, the leading full-service live entertainment and hospitality company to represent CPC and create a new model for global partnerships in our industry,” Jay Voelker.

+ The Recording Academy has appointed Todd Dupler as chief advocacy and public policy officer, effective immediately.

Dupler oversees the Advocacy division focused on championing creators’ rights and elevating policy issues that stand to affect the music community. He also orchestrates cross-departmental efforts to advance the overall advocacy goals of the Recording Academy and coordinates state and local advocacy with the Academy’s 12 regional Chapters.

“Through his remarkable tenure of nearly 12 years at the Academy, Todd has proven his unwavering commitment to accelerating change within the music community,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “His guidance has been vital to the Academy’s year-round efforts of advocating for creators’ rights and advancing pro-music legislation. I’m proud to have Todd as our Chief Advocacy & Public Policy Officer, and I look forward to seeing how our Advocacy team will continue to serve and impact the music industry under his leadership.”

Dupler previously served as the VP of advocacy and public policy and acting chief advocacy and public policy officer for the Recording Academy since December 2021, leading the Academy’s team in Washington, D.C., and coordinating all the Academy’s advocacy and government affairs efforts.

Since taking the role, Dupler has expanded the Academy’s state and local advocacy work, resulting in new pro-music laws in multiple states, including California’s landmark Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act. He also relaunched and reinvigorated the Academy’s signature advocacy programs, Grammys on the Hill and District Advocate.

+ Virgin Hotels, the luxury lifestyle hospitality brand founded by Sir Richard Branson, has announced Hear This!, a concert series created in partnership with Sofar Sounds.

Hear This! will serve as a monthly concert series open to the public and showcasing a roster of talented emerging Sofar artists. Virgin Hotels’ Know members will receive premier access to reserve tickets ahead of the public sale. Attendees will also have access to exclusive Spotify and Apple Music playlists, featuring highlights and recommendations from Hear This! Artists. In addition, members of Virgin Red, the rewards program from Virgin, are able to redeem Virgin Points to join Sofar Sounds events at Virgin Hotels, including Hear This!

As a part of Hear This!, Virgin Hotels will also offer preferred room rates for all Sofar Sounds artists, with the goal of “alleviating the financial effects of the pandemic on touring artists and the increasing economic demands of the live performance industry,” according to a press release.

Kicking off on Sunday, September 10 at Virgin Hotel Dallas, Hear This! will also soon stop in Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, New York City, Edinburgh and the newly opened Glasgow location.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed an exclusive, global publishing agreement with singer-songwriter Abel Pintos.

Pintos began his career at the age of 13 when he recorded his first album and won awards for best new artist and best performer at the Cosquín Festival, one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in Argentina. His last album, “La Familia Festeja Fuerte,” was recorded live from the River Plate Stadium and the album tour saw Pintos perform for fans across 36 shows, 28 cities and 10 countries, including Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.

+ Kobalt has signed songwriter and producer Jake Torrey to a worldwide publishing agreement, including global synch and creative services.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Torrey most recently co-wrote Calvin Harris and Sam Smith’s single “Desire” which is currently No. 7 on the UK singles chart. Other recent releases include YungBlud’s “Hated” and “Low Life” along with Lauren Spencer Smith’s “That Part.” Torrey also contributed to Charlie Puth’s self-titled album, “Charlie,” and also co-wrote and co-produced “Off My Face” and “Lifetime” from Justin Bieber’s “Justice.”

“Jake is an exceptional young talent,” said Jamie Kinelski, senior VP and head of West Coast creative. “Over the last few years through his tireless work ethic and stellar songwriting ability, he has become one of the leading writer/producers in Los Angeles. The entire Kobalt team is honored to be working alongside Jake & his team as he enters this exciting new stage of his career.”

+ Hemisphere Media Group, the leading media company specializing in Spanish-language television programming and content distribution, has completed its acquisition of WKAQ AM and KQ105 FM from TelevisaUnivision. WKAQ AM is the overall top-rated radio station in Puerto Rico, and KQ105 is the No.1 FM station on the Island.

Concurrently with the closing of this latest transaction, Hemisphere is launching a multiplatform media company called WAPA Media to offer a range of news, sports, talk and entertainment programming across multiple platforms, including television, digital, social media and radio.

Leading this newly formed company is WAPA Media President and CEO Jorge Hidalgo, a seasoned television executive with over 40 years of experience in the industry.

Wednesday, Sept. 6

Pitbull, the Grammy award-winning artist and entrepreneur, has re-signed with WME across all areas worldwide, the company announced today.

Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, originally signed with the agency in 2017 and left after a little over a year to join UTA.

The move comes ahead of the Cuban-American singer’s upcoming fall release of his next long-awaited Spanglish album titled “Trackhouse” (named after the NASCAR racing team he co-owns), and his joint “Trilogy” tour with Latin music stars Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin. Pitbull returned to the road in 2022 with the sold-out, 50-date North American “Can’t Stop Us Now” Tour which saw support from Iggy Azalea and Sean Paul on select dates.

Outside of his musical ventures, Pitbull has also capitalized on brand partnerships. He’s participated in numerous speaking engagements around the world with life and business strategist, Tony Robbins, and also established Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM!) — tuition-free public charter schools across the country.

+ Rimas Publishing has inked a new strategic partnership with Muso.AI, a music metadata platform for leveraging credits and analytics. The deal will support Rimas’ push to market their songwriters and producers, acquire new catalogs, effectively find new unpublished songwriters, and more.

“This transformative new deal is poised to elevate Rimas Publishing’s already best-in-class services and sets a new standard for next-generation transparency that directly benefits their clients,” the publishing company said in a statement.

Rimas Publishing is home to numerous internationally acclaimed artists including Bad Bunny, Eladio Carrión, Mora, Súbelo NEO, Yensanjuan, and Lennex, among others.

“At Rimas Publishing, we are committed to remaining at the forefront of industry technological advancements, continuously seeking to provide our clients with the highest caliber of services,” said Emilio Morales, Rimas Publishing’s managing director and a Variety Hitmaker. This strategic alliance represents a pivotal step in our growth journey, ensuring our position as one of the leading publishers in the industry.”

Added Aaron Kaufman, Muso.AI’s president and co-founder: “Our collaboration is a driving force propelling our entry into the Latin market, seamlessly aligning with our business suite debut and reaffirming the Muso.AI’s value. The inclusion of Rimas Publishing in the Muso.AI Family exhilarates us, as their engagement and insights will fuel the ongoing enhancement of our business platform to cater to their specific needs.”

+ Universal Music Publishing Germany and Electric Feel Europe have signed the Berlin-based producer, songwriter and pianist Suena to a worldwide publishing agreement.

In 2020, the song “Roller” produced by Suena and Lucry was awarded the GEMA Music Authors’ Prize (GEMA Musikautor*innenpreis) and the single reached Diamond status in Germany. More recently, Suena released her first single “rosa rugosa” with collaborator Lucry via her own label blanca, teaming up with featured artists Blumengarten and 01099.

“We are extremely proud to welcome Suena to the UMPG family,” said Thomas Vidovic, managing director of Universal Music Publishing Germany and senior VP of Universal Music Publishing Austria & Switzerland. “With her incredible talent as a songwriter, producer and musician and the ability to create timeless hits across genres she has been defining today’s musical culture and artistry in Germany. With the combined power of Electric Feel and UMPG Suena will have the opportunity to propeller her success on a global scale.”

Niels Eberhardt, head of operations at Electric Feel Publishing Europe, said: “Suena’s versatility and outstanding production style are influencing a whole generation through different genres and we’re thrilled to work with her and UMPG on an extended international career across the borders.”

Tuesday, Sept. 5

Universal Music Greater China (UMGC) has appointed Timothy Xu as its new chairman and CEO of the Greater China division. He will be responsible for the music company’s operations across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, effective immediately.

Xu joins UMGC from Taihe Music Group, one of China’s most reputable indie companies, where he served as president and CEO since 2018. Prior to that, Xu served as chairman and CEO of Greater China at Sony Music Entertainment between 2012 and 2016. He’s also worked for EMI Music/EMI Music Publishing China and Warner Music China.

News of Xu’s hiring follows the retirement of longstanding chairman, Sunny Chang.

“I am thrilled to welcome Timothy to lead our operations in Greater China,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. “He’s a real music exec, given his deep experience generating creative and commercial success in the region. I’m confident Timothy be instrumental as we continue to drive growth in the exciting and vibrant Chinese music market.”

Executive VP of Market Development Adam Granite, adds: “Having worked together in the past, Timothy’s unique and versatile experience across the sector will bring new opportunities to expand all areas of our business operations within Greater China, whilst also accelerating our focus on introducing Chinese music, culture, and artist talent to new markets and audiences around the world.”

In 2021, UMGC emerged as the first major music company to launch multiple frontline label operations across China with Republic Records China, Capitol Records China, EMI China, PolyGram Records China, and Universal Music China as its flagship label divisions, “reinforcing UMGC’s commitment to discovering and introducing the next wave of Chinese music talent globally across a variety of genres,” according to a press release.

Pictured above (L-R): Sir Lucian Grainge, Timothy Xu, Adam Granite

+ Virgin Music Group has opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria and Olukorede “Kay” Ikazoboh has been tapped as head of operations in the region.

Among the first deals announced in the region by Virgin include partnerships with Dvpper, one of Nigeria’s rising Afrobeats labels, solo artist Reekado Banks, as well as a single with Darkoo featuring Ayra Starr.

Nat Pastor, co-CEO of Virgin Music commented: “The global appetite for the incredible musical creativity springing from Africa has never been stronger. Establishing a presence in Nigeria is another important step in our commitment to serving independent African artists and entrepreneurs throughout the region.”

Kay has managerial experience via her own Kimani Moore Entertainment, which has helped to guide the careers of such artists as Odunsi the Engine, Mowalola, and Taylwar. She also served in a variety of positions in emerging markets for Warner Music Group.

“Nigeria has become a hugely important creative hub, producing some of the most exciting music anywhere in the world,” said Kay. “I’m looking forward to working with independent labels and artists to help them build their fan bases both here and around the world. I am truly honored to lead this mission with my team and look forward to the incredible journey ahead.”

+ K-pop group RIIZE — comprised of members Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee and Anton — have signed a new partnership deal with their Korean label SM Entertainment and RCA Records.

The news was unveiled alongside their debut single, “Get a Guitar” (which is also being sold as a physical single). The accompanying visualizer for the single has already amassed over seven million views on YouTube.

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