Warner Music Sells Digital Distributor Zebralution

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After ten years, WMG has sold the company to a consortium that includes its founders.

The founders of European digital distributor Zebralution have helped purchase the company back from Warner Music Group, it was announced Monday. Kurt Thielen and Sascha Lazimbat, along with Christof Ellinghaus of City Slang and Konrad von Loehneysen, owner of the Embassy of Music label, make up the new ownership consortium of Zebralution, which regains its indie status after ten years under WMG. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The sale of Zebralution is part of a larger divestment package agreed upon by WMG in late 2012 with European indie music association IMPALA and Merlin, the UK-based the indie digital rights licensing agency and advocacy organization. "We have had a fantastic ten years working with Zebralution, a company that has given us a special insight into the indie world," remarked Bernd Dopp, chairman/CEO of Warner Music Central Europe. "We're delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with Zebralution in the future."

Founded in 2003, Zebralution distributes its catalog of 500,000-plus tracks, albums and videos to hundreds of digital services worldwide. It was sold to WMG in 2007

"We look forward to start the process of turning this great company that Kurt and Sascha built into a real independent again," said Ellinghaus in a statement. "We're thrilled for Zebralution to join Merlin right away and become a part of the vital and thriving independent music landscape. We want to be nothing but one of the best distributors in the world for independent labels."

Von Loehneysen added that he'll continue his role as managing director of EoM, an indie label based in Berlin, as well as act as vp of music at Zebralution. "In 2017, we live in a streaming world, and our challenge is to be the best partner for this world," he said.

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