Relativity Media Acquires Stake In Downtown Records

Relativity Media has acquired a stake in Downtown Records to increase overall content holdings and production. Happy Walters, COO of Relativity, will oversee the investment for the company. 

Downtown Records, best known as the home to Gnarls Barkley, Santigold and Cold War Kids, is expected to use the capital infusion from Relativity to sign new artists and acquire and market other catalogs. Downtown currently has a catalog of more than 5,000 songs.

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The move is the latest from Relativity to push it beyond its origins as a film production unit, which has been responsible for more than 200 films. The Relativity empire includes Relativity Music which offers music supervision, publishing and soundtrack services as well as divisions dedicated to film production, distribution and financing, television, athlete representation, a fashion/style/design arm and a digital content production studio. Downtown and Relativity’s divisions will work closely together to leverage each other’s properties.

“Downtown will generate innovative new opportunities for artists, composers and music fans alike,” Downtown Records chairman and CEO Josh Deutsch said in a statement. “We are excited to work with … the entire Relativity team to grow Downtown Records’ recorded music, music publishing and live events divisions and to contribute our premium content and music services to Relativity’s global media business."

"Relativity is a content engine that has the unique ability to help other entertainment companies reach the next level," Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity  founder and CEO, commented. "In just eight years, Josh Deutsch and Terence Lam have built a cutting edge music business, and we are excited to provide new opportunities for their incredible talent as Relativity continues to grow.”

Deutsch and co-chairman Lam founded Downtown Records in 2006.

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Aligning with labels is commonplace for independent film companies and studios and has shifted considerably in the digital age. Each of the majors has a music distribution arm in addition to music publishing operations that, for high-profile projects, partner with other labels. Summit tapped Interscope for Junkie XL’s score to “Divergent”; Columbia partnered with Universal Pictures’ Back Lot label months after the release of “Despicable Me 2,” pushing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” to the top of the Hot 100.