After his departure, Strick transitioned to the transactional side of the music publishing market, working with private equity companies to source and close deals.
While working on the Calvin Harris catalog sale to Vine Alternative Investments, Strick met business manager Thomas St. John, a CMNTY Culture co-founder.
"He came to me and said, 'You have to sit with Philip Lawrence,'" says Strick, who previously worked at Maverick Records and BMG Music Publishing. Even "in the thick of the pandemic," Strick agreed to meet, and came away understanding Lawrence's ambition to produce records, develop artists and run a publishing company. Now in the CMNTY Culture fold, Strick says he will help its record label and "look for opportunities for acquisitions" -- not just publishing catalogs but "smaller operating companies."
CMNTY Culture is an ambitious undertaking, betting that a purposefully nimble company has an advantage over larger ones. Lawrence, St. John and label veteran Malik Rasheed started the company to take advantage of "the rise in independent artists, the ability to bypass the middleman," says Lawrence. In addition, CMNTY Culture purchased three acres in Hollywood to build a campus -- an "oasis," says Lawrence — to encourage "spontaneous creativity."
Seed funding came from St. John and Lawrence, who sold his catalog last year for what he calls a "a significant amount."
CMNTY Culture was able to poach an impressive group of executives. Rasheed, president and co-founder, had been running Scooter Braun's label and had worked with L.A. Reid at Epic Records. Chief Johnson, formerly a sports and entertainment marketing executive at apparel brand Puma, is the chief marketing officer. Additionally, Miles Cooley moved from law firm DLA Piper to become chief legal officer and chief operating officer. Marlena Kaplan, formerly with Blackstone, is the chief financial officer.