Danish multi-media company ArtPeople has acquired domestic booking agency Offbeat, with effect from March 1.

Offbeat has around 20 domestic artists on its roster, including Camilla Jones, Ida Coor and Johnson. The booker also owns a tour bus which it lets out to clients.

ArtPeople has an existing booking division, but most clients on its books are actors and authors on lecture circuits, and stand-up comedians.

"It's a way of transforming a record company into a music company. A way of surviving in the prevailing climate of the music business," explains ArtPeople CEO-owner Jan Degner on the purchase. Financial details were not disclosed.

ArtPeople releases 10-15 albums per year, and has a roster of artists including Johnny Madsen; Dissing, Dissing, Las & Dissing; Jøden and Lizzie. The latter artist currently has a platinum-selling single (15,000 units) "Ramt I Natten," which is No. 1 on the download chart and airplay chart, and is expected to become Denmark's all-time most downloaded track.

Degner says his company will expand its modest music publishing operations and try to market abroad Lizzie's song, which has also been recorded in English.

ArtPeople also handles book publishing of fiction and non-fiction titles, and publishes and distributes works from the country's leading music magazine Gaffa. Comedy DVDs are another important segment of its business.

Degner founded ArtPeople five years ago after leaving his post as managing director of Sony Denmark. The company has had success through innovative initiatives, and broke new ground when it placed book ads on TV, a move which initially caused an outcry from the world of literature, but generated a string of ArtPeople bestsellers. Degner says his company is more profitable than at least one major label in Denmark.