The Deals: 3tone Music Group Scores $50M Investment; Warner Music Acquires Stake in Serbia’s Mascom Records

Carlton James Group invested $50 million in Bristol, U.K.-based distribution and artist label services company 3tone Music Group to fund the additional expansion of the company’s distribution platform. 3tone, which is run by CEO Dean Roberts and managing director Chris Borud, was first backed by Carlton James Group in 2019. The company offers indie artists unlimited digital distribution to multiple streaming platforms for an annual fee, a model that echoes more established companies like DistroKid and TuneCore.

Warner Music acquired a stake in Serbian label Mascom Records. The acquisition expands the companies’ relationship, as Mascom has acted as Warner Music’s local distributor for more than 20 years. Under the new arrangement, they will work together to build a roster of local artists, with the opportunity for artists to be upstreamed into Warner’s global network. Mascom’s catalog will continue to be distributed by Warner’s ADA. The companies have recently been jointly working with Serbian artist Sergej Panic on his new releases “Kabul” and “Mia Bella.” In a statement, Izabela Ciszek-Podziemska, general manager of Warner Music South East Europe, called the deal “a landmark development” for Warner in the region.

U.K.-based livestreaming company Driift acquired the livestreaming technology and sales platform Dreamstage, with the combined businesses set to operate under the Driift name, led by CEO Ric Salmon and COO Claire Mas. Driift also secured an additional $4 million investment from Deezer, bringing the company’s total investment from the European streaming service to $7 million in 2022. Deezer is now the largest shareholder in Driift; it had become a majority shareholder in Dreamstage prior to the acquisition.

Atlantic Records partnered with Record Store Day for a new series that will showcase developing artists at independent music retail stores across the U.S. The first artist to be highlighted by the program is Neon Gold/Atlantic singer-songwriter Joe P, who will kick off the series with the release of a deluxe vinyl edition of his debut EP, Emily Can’t Sing. The series will feature 10 to 12 emerging artists over the next year while incorporating exclusive in-store signings and performances. Joe P has already signed on for eight upcoming in-store signings while he’s on tour. The partnership was negotiated by Record Store Day’s Michael Kurtz and Atlantic Records’ Jack McMorrow. In November and December, the series will feature the artist Surf Curse.

Warner Music Poland and Groupa STEP, owner of the independent Polish hip-hop label Step Records, launched a new business partnership to support local hip-hop artists. No further information was provided about the deal.

Cyanite, which offers AI-powered music tagging and search, will provide BMG with automatic tagging to make its entire 3 million song repertoire more searchable and accessible for synch placements. Under the agreement, Cyanite’s technology will be integrated into BMG’s internal content management system BMG Songs.

Social-first media company The News Movement will use UnitedMasters‘ independent music repertoire to soundtrack its news stories on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Snap under a new partnership.

Session, the company behind the collaboration app Session Studio for music creators, partnered with SoundCloud in a deal that will see the streaming platform become the first to digitally receive both song audio and essential song metadata directly from the Session Studio app. Session Studio is designed to make it easier for songwriters, artists, producers and more to track who contributed what at the point of creation across mobile, desktop and online.

Web3 platform OneOf signed an exclusive three-year partnership with the Latin Recording Academy. Under the deal, OneOf will host the first-ever NFT collection tied to the Latin Grammy Awards. The first collection will debut throughout October 2022.

Pop-rock singer Charlotte Sands (“Dressed,” “Loved You a Little”) signed a distribution deal with Vydia, as did house DJ Robbie Rivera, for whom Vydia will also handle marketing, synch, project management and DSP pitching for forthcoming releases on Rivera’s Juicy Music Group along with Rivera’s existing catalog. The Rivera deal includes a catalog transfer of over 350 songs via Juicy Music.

Ryan Oakes signed a recording and publishing deal with Position Music that will cover both new and existing repertoire.

New York artist VÉRITÉ partnered with Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo‘s Venice Music, which offers tools, services and artist support while allowing artists to retain creative autonomy and ownership over their work.

Berlin-based house and techno record label Get Physical Music signed a global sales and distribution deal with independent digital label services provider LabelWorx. The deal covers Get Physical’s full catalog, along with its imprints Cocada Music, Kindisch, Metaphysical and Poesie Musik.

Digital collaboration-based music platform BeatConnect closed an initial investment round of $2.2 million. Participants include lead investors FICC (Fonds d’investissement de la culture et des communications) and its partners, which contributed a total of $1 million. Also joining the round was angel investor network Anges Québec with around $615,000 and entertainment tech investment fund Triptyq Capital with around $540,000. BeatConnect will use the funds to build a new tool aimed at linking multiple DAWs together for cross-platform collaboration and remote sharing sessions for music creators.

R. Wayne Martin‘s boutique management firm mthree signed music producer John Hiler (Rihanna, Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins) to its new division focused on managing music producers. His day-to-day manager at the firm is Jeff Betten.

Nettwerk Records announced a slew of signings, including lo-fi trio PanCake, Flemish lo-fi producer Phlocalyst, Germany-based singer-songwriter M. Byrd, Berlin-based songwriter and producer Chris James, Los Angeles rock band The Strike and pop singer Michal Leah, whose new single “the way i love you” drops on Friday (Oct. 14).

Triple 8 Management signed singer-songwriter Erin Kinsey, who is signed to RECORDS/Columbia Nashville.

Texas-based singer E Bleu signed a 10-song partnership with AWAL that will provide him with marketing and streaming support while allowing him to keep his masters. His most recent release is the Shawn Barron-executive produced single “No Biggie.”

Create Music Group signed Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) #9797 (a.k.a. Jimbo).

Chris Eggertsen