Brian Message, a partner in Courtyard Management, which represents Radiohead, has launched a new artist venture with the London-based Mama Group and Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group that will allow artists to retain copyright.

Message is representing ATC, which has joined with Mama and Nettwerk to launch the artist investment business Polyphonic. ATC is majority-owned by the partners of Oxfordshire-based Courtyard; ATC manages, partners and invests in more than 20 artists including the Boxer Rebellion, Faithless, Hadouken, Kate Nash, Master Shortie and the Rifles.

Polyphonic intends to invest directly into artist businesses, offering an alternative to the traditional label-driven investment model of the music industry. Polyphonic will supply the investment required by an artist to build their business "beyond the constraints of traditional business models," according to a statement. All copyrights will remain the property of the artist and Polyphonic will earn a share of the profits generated by all revenue earned from artist activities, similar to artist manager earnings.

"Polyphonic, an investment vehicle driven by alignment of interest rather than tax structuring or the maximizing of any one particular revenue stream, is an important funding option for artists," said Message in a statement.

"More and more artists are directly engaging with their fans in a way that enhances that unique relationship and enables the artist to have much more say in the way in which their business is built. ATC and Mama have co-invested in a number of new artists over the last three years and Polyphonic marks the next iteration of that business. Now, together with Nettwerk, we want to be working with a much bigger group of artists and managers and the capital we have available makes that achievable."

It has been founded with an initial financial commitment of more than $20 million for its first year of operation. Polyphonic will seek to partner with artists and their business managers.

Adam Driscoll, co-CEO of Mama Group, added: "It has been apparent for some time that there is a real barrier to artist development - and that is a lack of available investment capital. Through our SuperVision Management businesses, we have been making funds available to our clients to help them at the early stages of their careers for some time.

"The launch of Polyphonic will enable us to make many more such investments in both emerging artists and those further down their career path. This investment will not just apply to the artists that we manage, but also to artists that excite us who are not necessarily part of our management structure. The contract that we have structured brings more business and creative freedom to artists and managers than has ever been offered before."

Mama Group has a stake in Nettwerk

"We launched a number of artist imprints to allow bands to take a bigger stake in their recorded music and have engaged fully with digital distribution platforms to ensure that we get their music to their fans in as many ways as possible," said Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride. "Polyphonic will enable us to make further strides in enabling artists and managers to build businesses that control all aspects of the artists' career and their assets. Having shared objectives is paramount if any business in any sector is to work. That hasn't been readily delivered by the old industry investment model - it will be through Polyphonic."