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A&R Worldwide Newsletter Vol. 804


Protect the Culture, a new label founded by respected music industry veteran and entrepreneur Marc Byers, has entered into a worldwide joint venture with Warner Records. Byers will also serve as an A&R consultant for Warner Records, focusing on the vibrant African music scene. He will work closely with Steve Carless, President of A&R and Karen Kwak, Executive VP/Head of A&R.
Marc Byers

Grammy-nominated artist Lord Afrixana has made his debut on the newly created label venture with the new single “No Dey Tire.” The song offers a peek into the Ghana-born Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter’s upcoming solo project arriving later this year. You can listen to “No Dey Tire” HERE and watch the video HERE.

“Marc has already proven to be an invaluable A&R resource with the signings of breakout Nigerian artist Pheelz and afro-fusion rising star Lord Afrixana. We’re confident it’s just the beginning of what’s to come from Marc and Protect the Culture. Aaron Bay-Schuck, Tom Corson, and the team are excited to be championing such inspiring young talent from the electrifying African and world music scenes with passionate entrepreneurs, and we’re looking forward to all we can accomplish together,” said Steven “Steve-O” Carless, President of A&R, Warner Records and Karen Kwak, Executive VP/Head of A&R, Warner Records.

Following last year’s hard-hitting “Touchdown,” featured on the EA Sports Madden NFL soundtrack, “No Dey Tire” largely reflects – and speaks to – the African and Caribbean communities of Afrixana’s adopted hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, where he’s lived since the age of nine. After years spent perfecting his craft, he began his professional songwriting career in 2015. Four years later he was writing songs with Beyoncé – with whom he co-wrote two songs for The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack – which earned him three Grammy nominations.

Since then, he’s had star-studded collaborations with artists like Pharrell Williams, Bebe Rexha, Tiwa Savage, and has been featured on the season 2 soundtrack of the Epix original series Godfather of Harlem alongside DDG with “No Favors” and the season 3 soundtrack with “Bad Guy.” He also co-wrote the smash hit summer anthem “Showing Off Her Body” by DaBaby & Davio.

Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) recently made a significant announcement regarding its expansion into the Thailand music market. UMG has entered into an agreement to acquire the extensive music catalog of RS Group, which is the second-largest music collection in Thailand. The catalog includes over 10,000 master recordings and 6,000 copyright ownerships, publishing rights, and licenses, spanning from 1981 to 2022. It represents the work of more than 960 artists, including notable names like Dan-Beam, James Ruangsak Loychusak, Parn Thanaporn Wagprayoon, Stone Metal Fire, Ble Patumrach, Lydia Sarunrat Deane, Thanapol Intharit, and Four-Mod Kamikaze.
This acquisition marks the formation of a new strategic partnership between RS Group and UMG, with UMG owning 70% and RS Group holding 30% of the partnership. It will provide UMG with increased scale and presence in one of the fastest-growing music markets globally. Thailand’s recorded music sector experienced a remarkable 20% revenue growth in 2022, surpassing U.S. $100 million for the first time ever, as reported by IFPI’s Global Music Report.
Under the terms of the agreement, UMG will become RS Group’s exclusive music service partner for new releases and repertoire worldwide. Additionally, UMG will have exclusive rights of first refusal and matching rights to acquire new releases and repertoire. This arrangement solidifies UMG’s position in the Thai market and positions the company as the second-largest player in the region.

UMG has enhanced its commitment to the Thai market by disclosing its plans to invest over $50 million (USD) into Thailand. This investment highlights UMG’s recognition of Thailand as one of Southeast Asia’s rapidly expanding music markets. With this strategic move, UMG aims to further expand its global footprint and strengthen its presence in the thriving music industry of Thailand.

Reservoir Music Group

Reservoir Media, in collaboration with PopArabia, recently unveiled a joint venture with Mashrex, an independent Saudi Arabian hip-hop label. The partnership will see the release of new music under the Mashrex brand, with Reservoir and PopArabia working together on this endeavor. In addition to the joint releases, the deal also includes the acquisition of several previous releases, which will be seamlessly integrated into the catalogs of Reservoir and PopArabia.
This strategic agreement marks a significant milestone for Reservoir as it aligns with the company’s market strategy of becoming the leading holder of Arabic music copyrights. By joining forces with Mashrex, Reservoir is further solidifying its position in the music industry and expanding its influence in the Arabic music scene.
Mashrex and Pop Arabia celebrate their new joint venture.

As part of the acquisition, PopArabia will take over the management of Mashrex’s YouTube channel, which currently has an impressive subscriber base of over 385,000. This move will allow PopArabia to leverage the existing fanbase and provide a platform for the label’s previous releases to reach a wider audience.

Fans can look forward to upcoming releases under this exciting partnership, with plans for new music scheduled for this summer. A comprehensive release schedule will follow throughout the year, showcasing the collective efforts of Reservoir, PopArabia, and Mashrex.

Golnar Khosrowshahi, Founder & CEO, Reservoir, expressed enthusiasm about the deal, stating that it strengthens Reservoir’s robust emerging markets strategy. With Saudi Arabia’s increasing investments in music and the rising popularity of hip-hop, Khosrowshahi anticipates strong growth and success in this market.

The collaboration between Reservoir, PopArabia, and Mashrex demonstrates a shared vision to nurture and promote the vibrant hip-hop culture in Saudi Arabia and the wider Arabic music landscape. This partnership not only provides opportunities for Mashrex artists but also heightens the commitment of Reservoir and PopArabia to diversify and expand their music portfolios.


PULSE Music Group and Concord have joined forces to introduce PULSE Records, a new label that expands upon PULSE Music Group’s existing music publishing and artist management divisions. PULSE Records aims to capitalize on PULSE Music Group’s ability to invest in top-tier creative talent, with the support of Concord’s established label services platform and administrative teams. The label will be led by PULSE Music Group principals Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham, alongside Ashley Calhoun, President & Head of Creative.
This partnership signifies Concord’s strong commitment to its successful collaboration with PULSE, which began in 2020 with an exclusive A&R-driven joint venture. In this new venture, PULSE Music Group will oversee A&R, creative, and marketing services, while Concord will provide global reach, financial resources, administration, and label services for PULSE Records. The label will be part of the Concord Label Group and will leverage its longstanding distribution relationship with Universal Music Group.
Pictured (L-R) are Scott Cutler (CEO & Founding Partner, PULSE Music Group), Ashley Calhoun (President/Head of Creative, PULSE) and Josh Abraham (Co-CEO & Co-Founder, PULSE Music Group).

Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham, Co-CEOs of PULSE Music Group, expressed their gratitude for the support and backing of Concord, as well as the expertise of its senior leadership team. They view this partnership as a pivotal step in expanding PULSE Music Group and launching PULSE Records, building upon the 15-year success of their publishing division that they built from the ground up.

Bob Valentine, the incoming CEO of Concord, expressed his admiration for PULSE Music Group and their collaborative success in publishing chart-topping songs. He highlighted PULSE Music Group’s reputation as a leading creative team and a hub for culturally relevant music. Valentine emphasized the exceptional partnership between PULSE and Concord as they work together to launch PULSE Records.

PULSE Records has made significant additions to its team, appointing Lauryn Caldwell as Sr. VP/Head of Marketing. Caldwell brings her experience from mtheory LLC, where she served as Vice President, Marketing & Artist Partnerships. She also has a background in music marketing at TikTok and Warner Bros. Records, along with a B.A. from UCLA. Additionally, Sara Ahmed has been named Vice President of Marketing, having previously held the position of Sr. Director of Marketing at Atlantic RecordsTizita Makuria, who joined PULSE Music Group in November 2022 as Sr. Director of A&R, APG, will now serve as Vice President of Creative for both PULSE Music Group publishing and PULSE Records. Bel Mesbahi, formerly of Alamo Records, has joined as Creative Director, A&R for both divisions as well.

These new additions to the PULSE Records team bring a wealth of experience and expertise from various sectors of the music industry, positioning the label for success in the ever-evolving market.



Each week, A&R Worldwide shares a snapshot of creatives and executives that we have collaborated or worked with in various music markets around the world, albeit in recent or previous times!

Enjoying over twenty five years of friendship and collaboration with each of these highly respected UK-based executives is A&R Worldwide Founder & President Sat Bisla. Indulging in a recent meal together in London, England are (L-R) George Ergatoudis (Head of Apple Music, UK & Ireland), Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide), Cassandra Gracey (President, 4th Floor Creative/Sony Music, UK) and Nick Gatfield (President & Founder, Twin Music).


Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E-mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our lives. Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes predictable, depending on the context. Click HERE for some predictable moments due to unpredictable jackass behavior!



Just over a decade ago, Dagny relocated from Germany to England, gradually amassing a modest following in Liverpool and later in London, yet without achieving significant breakthrough. However, everything changed dramatically upon the release of her single “Backbeat.” Within a span of nine months, the track amassed a staggering 20 million streams on Spotify, a number that has since grown closer to 50 million. Dagny’s musical accomplishments include four nominations for the prestigious P3 Gull Song of the Year award, with her 2020 single “Somebody,” ultimately claiming the prize. This song dominated the Norwegian radio charts for an impressive 18 weeks and held the distinction of being the most played song on Norwegian radio throughout 2020 and 2021, currently boasting nearly 85 million streams on Spotify. Dagny’s 2020 debut album, Strangers/Lovers, received a warm reception from both fans and renowned music publications such as The Guardian, Billboard, Nylon, and BBC Music. Notably, Dagny’s vocal talents have been sought after by various artists, including her background vocals on Katy Perry‘s global hit “Never Really Over.” Moreover, she has contributed her songwriting skills to artists like Julie Bergan, Ashnikko, and Lemaitre, and collaborated with notable acts such as Seeb, Steve Aoki, The Wombats, and others. Dagny achieved further success with her collaboration alongside Astrid S and star producers Rat City on the single “Pretty,” which soared to the top of Norwegian playlists. Last year, she released two singles, “Brightsider” and “Highs & Lows,” and joined forces with Norwegian superstar Kygo on “Lonely Together,” for which she also co-wrote the song. Currently, Dagny is dedicating time in Los Angeles to work on her sophomore album. Alongside her new music, she is scheduled to perform at over 10 festivals, supporting both Sting and Olly Murs in the UK, while simultaneously preparing for an extensive European tour in 2024. Experience her latest single, “Same Again (For Love)” HERE, and for further information and available opportunities with Dagny, contact Leonidas Chantzaras at or Charlotte Ehrenwerth at


In 2017, Alex Lahey made her debut with “Air Mail,” introducing the Melbourne-based singer-songwriter to a wider audience. Her first album, I Love You Like A Brother, followed later that year, with the subsequent release of The Best of Luck Club in 2019. Garnering over 50 million streams and earning three ARIA nominations, Lahey has now returned with her third studio album, The Answer Is Always Yes, via Liberation Records. Departing from her previous focus on relationship themes, this new record explores her sense of otherness through various lenses, encompassing isolation, surrealism, and humor. The Answer Is Always Yes has been praised globally, with raving reviews from Pitchfork (7.5), with single ‘You’ll Never Get Your Money Back’ as their Best New Track, Under The Radar (8.5/ 10), DIY (4 stars), Billboard, NPR, Paste and more! The album has also been gracing DSPs with covers on Spotify’s Indie Arrivals, Amazon Music’s Brand New Music, Apple Music and YouTube Music Amplifier and additions to Spotify (GLOW, Pulp and New Noise), Apple Music (Headliners, Heaps Indie), and Amazon (Fresh Alternative, Fresh Indie). This is also accompanied by widespread international radio support from likes of triple j, Passport Approved, KEXP, NPR, BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, FM4 Austria, Flux-FM Germany and more. To challenge herself, Lahey collaborated with esteemed writers and producers like Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol) and Chris Collins (Middle Kids, Skeggs) during the early stages of her creative process along with Grammy award-winning mixer Carlos de la Graza (Paramore, Best Coast, Cold War Kids). The album includes fan favorite singles such as “Good Time,” “Congratulations,” “Shit Talkin’,” and her latest release, “On The Way Down.” Following her successful US tour, Lahey will be bringing her new songs to her Australian fans in August, performing in Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Sydney. Watch the adrenaline-pumping music video for “On The Way Down” HERE. Directed by frequent collaborator Jon Danovic, which was filmed during Lahey’s recent acoustic UK tour. For more information and inquiries regarding Alex Lahey, please Justin Becker at


Sunday, July 9th, 2023: The weekly import show.
Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, GermanyNINETYSIX Radio (Indonesia); JioSaavn (India); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, PeruWZRH–FM New Orleans, LAKWSS “93.9FM”; Phoenix, AZKRML “102.1FM”; Carmel, CAKFRR “New Rock 104.1FM”; Fresno, CARadio 1, Mumbai, IndiaWCNR Charlottesville, VAKIWR “The River”; Council Bluffs, IA2XM Ireland (national radio); 96.2 ZFM The NetherlandsWAPS–FM “The Summit.FM”; Akron–Canton, OHWKTL–FM Youngstown, OH105.5FM XFM Nairobi, KenyaPUK–FM Johannesburg, South AfricaRock 96.5FM Zambia897 FM Bratislava, SlovakiaWITH “90.1FM”; Ithaca, NYUCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, AustraliaWRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NYWCRU–FM Hamilton, NYKZND Anchorage, AKKQCJ Quad Cities, ILAllgauhit–FM Bavaria GermanyIndie Xfm Los Angeles and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States, as well as many others internationally.

Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:

THE ROYSTON CLUB – “The Deep End” (Run On Records, UK)
DAGNY – “Heartbreak In The Making” (UMG, Germany)
HONEYMOAN – “Sorry Like You Mean It” (Believe, South Africa)
MASI MASI – “We Don’t Care” (Unsigned, UK)
JAMIE HANNAH – “Surrender To You” (Unsigned, UK)
ALEX SPENCER – “A Night To Waste” (Modern Sky, UK)
MERCI, MERCY – “Shovel” (Liberation Music, Australia)
IAMJJ – “King Size” (Unsigned, Denmark)
THE GOA EXPRESS – “Portrait” (Communion Records, UK)
NEW BEAT FUND – “What It’s All For?” (Unsigned, N. America)
REMME – “Boy From The Pictures” (UMG, Germany)
TOM A. SMITH – “Weirdo” (Unsigned, UK)
THE LATHUMS – “Lucky Bean” (Island Records, UK)
GOOD LEKKER – “Life In Real Time” (Good Intent, Australia)
BELOT – “Cool Whip” (Submarine Cat Records, UK)
BOY DESTROY – “No Sleep” (Warner Music, Sweden)
FOUR FACES – “Old Scars” (Unsigned, Ireland)
LAVIN – “Live / Learn / Die” (AWAL, Sweden)
THE DREAM MACHINE – “Lola, In The Morning (Unsigned, UK)
49TH & MAIN – “Crash & Burn” (Unsigned, Ireland)
CRYSTAL TIDES – “Animated” (Run On Records/Modern Sky, UK)
TEENAGE DADS – “3AM” (City Pop, Australia)
THE PIGEON DETECTIVES – “Falling To Pieces” (Unsigned, UK)
THE VICES – “At Least That’s What They’re Saying” (Mattan, Holland)
SOFY – “L-Plates” (Chess Club Records, UK)
PARLIAMO – “You’re An Animal” (Alt Waves Records, Scotland)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Swimsuit” (ICEA, Sweden)
TALISCO – “C’est Ici” (Talisco Music, France)
INHALER – “Just To Keep You Satisfied” (Polydor, UK)
BARBERA MARI – “Hunter” (Unsigned, Czech Republic)
RHETT REPKO – “Don’t Throw Our Love Away” (Unsigned, N. America)
KARIM – “Don’t Tell Your Friends” (Unsigned, Germany)


Pictured (L-R) are Scott Cutler (CEO & Founding Partner, PULSE Music Group), Ashley Calhoun (President/Head of Creative, PULSE) and Josh Abraham (Co-CEO & Co-Founder, PULSE Music Group).

UK BAND TORS SIGNS WITH GLASSNOTE RECORDS: Glassnote Records has recently signed UK indie-pop trio Tors. The Devon-based band has gained attention and acclaim through their performances, including supporting Sam Ryder on tour and selling out their own headline shows in the UK. Tors’ current single, “Amsterdam,” has been recognized by BBC Radio 1 Introducing list, further boosting their profile. They now join the impressive roster of artists at Glassnote, which includes renowned acts like PhoenixMumford & SonsTwo Door Cinema Club, and Jade Bird. Daniel Glass, Founder & President, Glassnote Records, expressed his excitement about welcoming Tors to the label. He praised their unparalleled passion for music, evident in their strong connection with fans and the respect they’ve gained within the songwriting community. Tors has made a significant impact on TikTok, accumulating millions of views for their captivating a cappella performances and live footage. With a substantial following of 167,000 and 2.6 million likes on the platform, the trio has built a dedicated fan base. The band operates from their studio HQ, a converted barn in Devon, where they have collaborated with fellow artists. Tors has co-written songs with notable acts such as Declan J Donovan and Dean Lewis. In addition to their accomplishments, Tors have shared the stage with acclaimed musicians including Tom WalkerJohn Newman, and Ireland’s Picture This (whose first major label deal in the US with Republic Records was secured with the assistance of A&R Worldwide and is now signed to RCA Records).

CHANGING “LANES” TO AUDIO NETWORK: Jonathan Lane, a well-regarded music supervisor based in Los Angeles, tells A&R Worldwide that he has taken on a new position as Vice President & Head of TV/Film, West Coast at Audio Network. Audio Network, a multinational music licensing company known for its expertise in music, film, TV, and advertising, boasts its primary headquarters in London, England, and maintains offices across the globe. Jonathan brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously served as the Founder & Music Supervisor of Clearly Music. Over the past decade, he has focused his efforts on music licensing for synchronization and music supervision, establishing himself as a trusted figure in the field. Prior to his work with Clearly Music, Lane held the position of Senior Director, Sync & Licensing at 5 Alarm Music, a prominent division of Anthem Entertainment. With Lane’s appointment as VP, Head of TV/Film, West Coast at Audio Network and his extensive background in music licensing and synch supervision, he is poised to make a significant impact on the company’s operations in the West Coast region.

POPARABIA NAMES ITS NEW VP A&R: PopArabia, a renowned music publisher and music rights consultancy in the MENA region, has made a notable addition to its team. Wissam Khodur, widely known as Eslam Jawaad, will join as the Vice President of A&R and Acquisitions. Based in the United Arab Emirates, Khodur will report directly to Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf, Founder & CEO, PopArabia. Khodur brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously served as Spotify’s Head of Artist and Label Partnerships for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Khodur’s impressive resume includes executive roles at Quincy Jones’ G3 and Ringz & Partners Entertainment, the company behind Wu Tang Clan’s groundbreaking single-copy album and NFT, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” He was credited as Co-Executive Producer on the album, which holds Guinness World Records for being the most valuable album and NFT. In addition to his professional achievements, Khodur’s 2009 debut rap album, “The Mammoth Tusk,” showcased collaborations with renowned artists such as Damon AlbarnDe La Soul, and members of Wu Tang Clan. He has also lectured at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. PopArabia represents catalogs from major publishers including Sony Music PublishingBMG Rights ManagementConcord MusicPeermusicDowntown Music PublishingKobalt Music Publishing, among others.

IDOL UNVEILS NEW SIGNING: IDOL, the independent digital distributor, has secured a global artist services agreement with Erick the Architect, the talented rapper, producer, and founding member of Flatbush Zombies. This partnership entails IDOL taking charge of worldwide digital distribution and global marketing for all upcoming releases, starting with Erick’s new single, “Parkour,” set to release on July 11. Collaborating closely with Erick’s management at Quincy Jones Productions, IDOL’s US team will focus on release strategy, audience development, and channel management. “Parkour” hs production credits from acclaimed artist, songwriter, and producer James Blake, a long-time collaborator of Erick’s. The track will serve as the first taste of Erick’s debut solo album, slated for release next year through his own label, Architect Recording Company. The album is expected to feature several notable artists, with more details to be unveiled in the coming months. This signing represents a significant milestone for IDOL’s expansion in the US market, bolstering their roster of direct deals with entrepreneurial artists and their management teams. Previous collaborations have propelled acts like Grammy-nominated Ibrahim MaaloufLa FemmeLomepal, and Jazzy Bazz to international success. The deal with Erick the Architect coincides with Thomas Maxwell’s recent appointment as General Manager, USA, overseeing IDOL’s North American operations. Additionally, IDOL has recently forged new partnerships with Fire RecordsSoundway Records, and Gondwana Records.

COOKING VINYL PUBLISHING RE-SIGN SONGWRITER MATT ATTARD: Cooking Vinyl Publishing tells A&R Worldwide that they have re-signed of Cardiff, Wales-based artist Matt Attard, extending his deal with the indie publisher. In 2019, Matt joined Cooking Vinyl as a live musician and a composer of production music, but a relative novice in commercial pop writing. Mattard has a slew of co-write releases with the likes of Gabby MartinLydia Ford & Pedar Elias – the latter, signed to Sony Music Norway, giving Attard his first sales plaque by reaching 6x Platinum status in S. Korea with his album, Love & Loneliness, in 2022. Additionally, he has also collaborated with Matt TerryArcades (BTS), William SegerdahlSarah de Warren and Graham Candy. Matt has been developing a sync project with collaborator Robbie Jay called Good Daze, with the first releases expected later in 2023. The deal was brokered with the support of Ryan Farley, Managing Director and Head of A&R, Cooking Vinyl Music Publishing.

RESERVOIR ACQUIRES THE CATALOGS OF THE SPINNERS: Reservoir Media recently announced the acquisition of the catalogs of four of the founding members of the R&B and pop vocal group The Spinners. The deal includes the master royalty income streams for Henry Fambrough, and the late Billie HendersonPervis Jackson, and Bobbie Smith. The band formed in 1954 and enjoyed massive success throughout the 1960s and 1970s and helping to define the Philly soul sound. Throughout their career, they earned six Grammy nominations, 30 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and 40 Hot R&B charting songs including six number 1’s. Additionally, The Spinners earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. “The Spinners and their catalog of hits are truly timeless. The way their music continues to connect with listeners and live on decades after release is a testament to all their towering musical achievements,” says Reservoir Executive Vice President of A&R and Catalog Development Faith Newman.

INTERSCOPE GEFFEN A&M TAP INTO MOGUL VISION: Interscope Geffen A&M Records recently confirmed a partnership with Mogul Vision, the label founded by Josh Marshall. The first Interscope and Mogul Vision music released under the deal is the debut EP from artist gigi, “How To Catch A Falling Knife.” Additionally, Marshall signed rapper Rubi Rose, who was named to XXL’s freshman class in 2021. Marshall also manages a number of artists including KennyHoopla, who is currently on tour with blink-182Lil Mosey and d4vd, who’s having global success with his songs “Romantic Homicide” and “Hear With Me,” which have been released via Darkroom/Interscope. “Josh has an incredible track record at identifying unique artists early in their careers. We’re thrilled to welcome him into the IGA family,” stated John Janick, Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M.

METAVERSE MUSIC STUDIO SECURES FUNDING: Karta, an award-winning metaverse studio focused on the world of in-game experiential marketing, has secured investment from industry pioneers across the music, gaming, sports and finance worlds. Launched as a startup in 2021 by music industry veteran Tony Barnes and Fnatic’s ex-Head of Events Erik Londré, Karta makes the metaverse accessible for musicians, brands and sports rights-holders. In just two years, the studio has delivered a number of successful projects on RobloxFortnite and Decentraland for the likes of Amazon MusicUnilever’s Sunsilk and most recently K-pop megastar girl group TWICE. Collectively, these campaigns have reached over 100 million young people through Karta’s approach to creating virtual experiences, earning the startup several industry awards and a recent shortlist in the Health & Wellness category at Cannes Lion Awards, for its work with Ronald McDonald House. The new investment now provides a springboard for Karta, enabling it to service the booming demand for these virtual worlds. The recent funding round was led by venture capital firm GameTech Ventures and includes names from the music sector including Amy Thomson. Thomson is an artist manager and ex-Chief Catalog Officer to Hipgnosis.

WMG PARTNERS WITH POLYGON LABS: Warner Music Group (WMG) and Polygon Labs, a growth and development team in support of the Polygon network, recently announced the launch of a groundbreaking music accelerator program that aims to power the next generation of innovation at the intersection of Web3 and music by supporting developers launching music-related projects and dApps on the Polygon network. The ideal applicants consist of companies and entrepreneurs operating at the intersection of music, technology, and Web3. The focus is on companies focused on various areas such as fostering artist-fan communities, establishing decentralized music production and distribution systems, innovating ticketing solutions, exploring music-related merchandise and digital/physical collectibles, and integrating music with interactive technology and gaming. Applicants who meet the criteria should demonstrate a strong enthusiasm for the future of music and possess ideas that go beyond the initial stage of conceptualization. The most competitive candidates will actively engage with or implement their concepts on the Polygon blockchain protocols. Interested projects can formally submit their applications through this following link.

REACTIONAL STRIKES PRODUCTION MUSIC DEAL WITH APM: Reactional Music has announced a new partnership with APM Music. The deal marks Reactional’s first move into production music and follows a previous agreement with Hipgnosis Song Management. APM is jointly owned by Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group and is the largest aggregator of production music in North America with a catalog of 1.3 million tracks. Additionally, it works with video game publishers including ActivisionElectronic ArtsSony Interactive Entertainment and Square Enix, while APM’s other recent credits include HBO series The Last of Us and films Bullet Train and Top Gun: Maverick. The partnership will allow developers to have fully licensed production music through the Reactional platform. According to a press release, Reactional Music is “pioneering the convergence of games and music” by allowing music to be added into a game and for the visuals to then interact with it.

INFLUENCE MEDIA PARTNERS ACQUIRES MUSIC CATALOG OF LOGIC: Influence Media Partners have acquired Grammy nominated artist Logic’s music catalog spanning 185 titles. The deal features his tracks including multi-Platinum single “1-800-273-8255” ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid, “EVERYDAY’” with Marshmello, “HOMICIDE” ft. Eminem, and “6 SUCKER FOR PAIN” with Lil WayneWiz KhalifaImagine Dragons, Logic & Ty Dolla $ign ft. X Ambassadors. The deal further showcases Influence Media’s investment in the future of hip-hop within the music publishing and content rights marketplace. Additionally, last year Influence Media acquired hundreds of titles by Grammy award-winning rapper Future which aligned with their mission to bolster modern evergreen” music.

CREATE MUSIC GROUP ACQUIRES MUSIC FOR PETS: Create Music Group recently acquired the full ownership of Music For Pets, a global company that creates music and entertainment for dogs and cats. Founded by Amman Ahmed and Ricardo Henriquez in 2017, Music For Pets’ popular franchises “Relax My Dog” and “Relax My Cat” cater to more than 20 million pets around the world who listen to more than 12 million hours of music every month. Ahmed, a UK-based entrepreneur, started the company with just $1,000 of his own savings. His business partner, Henriquez, inspired by his own dog’s anxiety began composing music specifically designed to soothe pets. This approach to pet care garnered attention, and their original music has since become a tool for pets and their owners on YoutubeSpotify, and other digital service providers around the world.

AWAL EXPANDS INTO INDIA & SE ASIA: AWAL, the global music distribution and services company, has made a significant move by expanding its operations into India and South Asia. This expansion comes as a result of AWAL’s recent acquisition of OKListen, a prominent digital music platform that caters to independent artists and record labels. With its headquarters based in Mumbai and the support of Sony Music India, AWAL will provide a comprehensive range of services to independent-minded artists in the region. These services include global marketing, creative support, synchronization and brand partnerships, radio promotion, distribution, and access to real-time music analytics. The newly appointed Head of India & South Asia for AWAL is Vijay Basrur, the Founder and former CEO of OKListen. Basrur brings a wealth of experience in the music, technology, and business sectors, with over 23 years of expertise. Having established OKListen in 2012 as India’s first homegrown digital distribution service, Basrur has collaborated with more than 4,000 musicians across India, including renowned independent artists such as The Local TrainWhen Chai Met ToastBipul Chettri, and Sanam. Before his involvement with OKListen, Basrur held various leadership roles in product development, technology, and digital transformation within digital startups and corporations. AWAL’s expansion into India and South Asia, coupled with its acquisition of OKListen, marks a significant milestone for the company’s global expansion.

NELLY SELLS PORTION OF CATALOG TO HARBOUR VIEW: HarbourView Equity Partners has acquired select music assets of Grammy award-winning rapper, Nelly. According to reports, Nelly secured $50 million (USD) for 50% ownership of his entire catalog. Founded by former Tempo Music CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares with support from Apollo Global Management, HarbourView owns a catalog of over 20,000 songs, encompassing both master recordings and publishing income streams. This acquisition follows HarbourView’s recent purchase of SoundHouse Acquisitions LLC’s catalog for a reported $325 million. HarbourView has been actively pursuing the acquisition of publishing catalogs from country music artists Lady A and Brad Paisley, as well as the publishing catalog of Latin music superstar Luis Fonsi. Furthermore, the company secured Big Loud Mountain Music’s publisher share of select songs from the catalog of country music duo Florida Georgia Line and the music publishing catalog of Incubus. The latest deal covers the purchase of some of Nelly’s popular tracks including hits like “Ride Wit Me” and “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland, as well as “Hot in Herre.”

CYANITE AND POND5 SIGN NEW PARTNERSHIP: Cyanite and Pond5 have announced a new partnership. Pond5 is a Shutterstock subsidiary which offers a vast collection of music tracks, sound effects, images, and more. Under the new deal, Cyanite will utilize its AI technology to improve the tagging of Pond5’s growing two million strong catalog. This will help grow existing metadata with more consistent and objective music language to improve search recall and relevance. Additionally, global creators will be able to discover the perfect music to be used in film and TV production, social media, advertising, gaming, and much more. With a pricing model led by artists, creators can source tracks for any needs, with a plethora of genres and price points on offer. Pond5 uploads over 2.5 million assets across all media each month. Their collection includes 36 million licensable video clips, and over 10 million customers licensing content from 185 countries, allowing Pond5 to pay out over $100 million in royalties to artists. Some of their clients include NetflixDisneyNBCBBCDiscovery Channel, and The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, Cyanite launched in 2019 and has already tagged over 15 million songs worldwide for customers such as BMGSynchtank, and APM Music. Cyanite recently launched Free Text Search which can instantly translate complex text input into its closest musical equivalents.

PRIMARY WAVE GETS “KOOL” WITH GEORGE BROWN: Primary Wave Music recently unveiled its partnership with founding member of Kool & The GangGeorge Brown. Primary Wave has acquired a stake in the Grammy winner’s music publishing catalog, writer’s share, and writer’s share of public performance. Brown was one of the main songwriters for the legendary R&B group whose sound defined the 70s and 80s. As a member of Kool & The Gang, Brown has been awarded two Grammy-awards and seven American Music Awards. The multi-million-dollar deal encompasses some of Brown’s and Kool & The Gang’s biggest hits which include twenty-five Top 10 R&B hits and nine Top 10 pop hits including classics such as “Hollywood Swinging” which was their first No.1 on the R&B Charts. Additionally, the band has sold over 70 million albums worldwide, and have also been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2018, Brown was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

PREMIUM STREAMING SERVICE TIKTOK MUSIC LAUNCHES WITH MAJOR LABELS & MERLIN: TikTok Music has launched a premium streaming service in Indonesia and Brazil. The new service will harness the power of music discovery on TikTok, helping users to enjoy their favorite tracks on TikTok Music. Listeners will be able to use, download and share full tracks with their community, and to switch between TikTok and TikTok Music. TikTok Music is licensed with all three majors and Merlin for the indies. Additionally, subscribers can sync their TikTok and TikTok Music accounts, stream full versions of popular songs and swipe up and down to explore personalized recommendations. Standard streaming features such as lyrics and importing of personal music library playlists are going to be available. The Song Catch function will identify any song being streamed and users can also create collaborative playlists with friends and become part of communities through comments and behind-the-scenes stories. TikTok Music will offer users a catalog of music from thousands of labels and artists, as well as uninterrupted ad-free listening and a download function for listening offline.

LYRIC CAPITAL’S SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP INKS DEAL WITH AUTUMN ROWE: Spirit Music Group has announced a deal with songwriter Autumn Rowe. Rowe is managed by Range Media and some of her tracks include Alexis Jordan’s “Happiness,” Kylie Minogue’s “Sexy Love,” and Ava Max’s “Salt” among many others. As a member of the Songwriters of North America, Rowe has penned several tracks on Jon Batiste’s “We Are”, which won the “Album of the Year” award at the 2022 Grammy’s. Jon Singer, Chairman, Spirit Music commented, “Autumn is an undeniably talented writer and producer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the world. On top of that, she’s a remarkable advocate for the interests of songwriters and producers and exactly the type of partner we look to work with. We’re thrilled to welcome Autumn to the Spirit Music Group family and to have the opportunity to represent her as her publisher.”

THE RAINE GROUP RAISES $760M FOR GROWTH EQUITY FUND: The Raine Group has closed its most recent fund, Raine Partners IV. The size of the fund is over $760 million (USD), bringing The Raine Group’s total Assets Under Management to almost $4 billion. Additionally, Raine Group is an investor in music-based companies such as SoundCloudC3 Presents, and Amuse. It is also the main supporter behind Firebird Music Holdings. As an advisor, Raine Group has been involved in many vital transactions in the music industry including HYBE’s $300 million acquisition of Quality Control. New York and London-based Raine Group says that its new Raine Partners IV fund will invest in growth-stage technology, media, and telecommunications companies, with a specific target on sports, media, entertainment and gaming. Raine Partners IV has just made its initial investment in Tripledot Studios, a mobile games developer. Raine Group was founded in 2009 and has made investments in the likes of DraftKingsMoonbugImagine EntertainmentTelevisaUnivision and VideoAmp.

NEED TO MAKE CONTACT, SEND NEWS AND NEW MUSIC RELEASES?: If you have any A&R, publishing, technology, agent/promoter, international radio, management, new media or film/TV music supervisor news you’d like to share with A&R Worldwide, or need to respond to information published in the weekly newsletter please E–mail it to the attention of Sat Bisla at Also, all demos and new music releases should be sent as STREAMING LINKS ONLY to

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jon Pleeter, Paul Wiltshire, Caroline Elleray, Shivam Malhotra, Mark Chipello, Cathy Mathalone, Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE, Troy Carter, Saurabh Abbi, Rachel Kurstin, Jonathan Dickins, Andre De Raaff and Christian Wahlberg.



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