The record label Varese Sarabande, which releases about 40 soundtracks a year, has been sold to the Cutting Edge Group, a London-based company that invests in film scores.
The deal is Cutting Edge’s first since it acquired $100 million in funds from the U.S. company Wood Creek Capital Management and two British firms, Octopus Investments and Aberdeen Asset Management. Cutting Edge expects to up Varése Sarabande’s output to 60 soundtracks a year.
Cutting Edge created a business model whereby the company took on the cost of providing a recorded film score to a film company. By holding onto the rights, they are then able to license scores for subsequent uses and soundtracks. Two of its first major successes were with Cliff Martinez’s score for “Drive” and Alexandre Desplat’s work for “The King’s Speech.” They are involved in close to 70 films per year, both independent and from the major studios.
It has since broadened its scope beyond the management of music rights to include management of composers. Cutting Edge chief executive Philip Moross wrote in an email to Billboard that the acquisition fulfills his goal “to become a fully vertically integrated music services facility.”
Varése Sarabande was formed by the merger of Varése International and Sarabande Records in 1978. Recent releases include Desplat’s score for “Rise of the Guardians,” Marco Beltrami “Trouble With the Curve” and Ramin Djawadi’s music for the “Person of Interest” TV series. Universal Music distributes Varese Sarabande releases.
Darren Blumenthal, founder of the Los Angeles-based investment banking firm ICE Capital Corp., will become CEO of Varése Sarabande. The label’s co-founder, Chris Kuchler, will assist Blumenthal during a transition period.