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Downtown's Growth Spurt Continues With Purchase of Digital Distributor FUGA

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Today's purchase is the latest step in the company's aggressive expansion.

Downtown Music Holdings subsidiary AVL Digital Group -- a global network of music distribution and monetization brands, including CD Baby and AdRev -- has acquired the Netherlands-based B2B music technology and services company FUGA, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 22). FUGA will continue functioning as a standalone business following the acquisition.

Since 2008, FUGA has provided content management, workflow and distribution services to more than 500 distributors, record labels, artist services companies and other rights holders via its signature FUGA platform, providing direct access to over 260 digital service providers worldwide. It also offers full-service marketing, promotion, monetization and label services to the independent music sector.

In a statement, FUGA CEO Pieter van Rijn said the company “could not be more enthusiastic” about becoming part of the AVL portfolio. “This acquisition will give FUGA the backing to achieve our global ambitions in this space so we can continue serving the independent music community, developing our service offering and improving our technology,” he continued. “We share a common business approach and philosophy with Downtown, one rooted in providing control and flexibility for creators and rights holders.”

The deal with Downtown/AVL will provide expanded resources, infrastructure and global scale for FUGA and its clients and partners, allowing the company to more quickly bring additional services to market. In his own statement, AVL CEO Tracy Maddux cites FUGA’s ”robust technology, well-earned reputation for innovation on behalf of the clients they serve, and global perspective of the digital music industry.” Downtown Music Holdings CEO Justin Kalifowitz notes that the FUGA acquisition is a “natural next step for Downtown in developing businesses that support a more equitable and innovative music ecosystem.”

With today’s deal, Downtown now boasts 500 employees and manages more than 20 million copyrights worldwide, with operations spanning 19 cities across five continents.

Last March, Downtown Music Holdings -- the parent company of Downtown Music Publishing and Songtrust -- acquired AVL, which claims to represent the largest independent sound recording catalog in the music industry. At the time of the acquisition, Downtown's publishing division was already an independent leader in the industry. Meanwhile, Songtrust currently serves over 300,000 songwriters across 2 million song copyrights. 

According to a recent study by MIDiA Research, independent artists are the fastest-growing sector of the recorded music business, bringing in $1.6 billion in 2018. Earlier this month, Billboard found that independent labels now control over 35 percent of the global market share for recorded music.


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