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The Deals: WMG Strikes NFT Partnership With OneOf, Anitta Signs With UTA + More

Also: Gimme Radio raises $3 million, Create Music Group acquires content management and influencer marketing agency VRTCL and more.

OneOf, billed as an environmentally friendly Web3 company, signed a partnership with Warner Music Group that will see OneOf creating exclusive NFTs for artists across WMG’s catalog.

According to a press release, the OneOf platform mints NFTs that are more than 2 million times more energy-efficient than the competition and specifically designed with the music community in mind. It offers NFTs from collectible and generative PFPs to music royalties and “IRL experiences.”


“Partnering with OneOf, a leader in the emerging technology space of Web3 and NFTs, gives our artists an edge in more authentically building one-to-one relationships with their fans and winning in the new Web3 economy,” said Oana Ruxandra, chief digital officer & executive vp, business development at Warner Music Group. “We’re excited to see what’s possible.”

Backed by Quincy Jones, OneOf was announced in May 2021. The company previously announced a collaboration with the Grammy Awards as well as partnerships with iHeartRadio and MusiCares. Since going live in September, the company has launched NFT collections with artists including Doja Cat, Whitney Houston and Alesso.

UTA signed Latin music superstar Anitta for global representation in all countries except Brazil.

In a statement, UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said the agency is “thrilled” to work with Anitta and her team at S10 Management, adding, “Her passion to work across multiple verticals like music, brands, fashion, television, and film, makes her a perfect match for the entrepreneurial team at UTA.”

Anitta’s most recent releases include the singles “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Faking Love” feat. Saweetie. She has released a total of four albums to date and is in the process of recording her fifth, which will feature songs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Other hits for the singer include “Me Gusta” feat. Cardi B and Myke Towers, “Tócame” feat. Arcangel and De La Ghetto and “Fuego” with DJ Snake and Sean Paul. At the 2019 Grammys, her most recent album, Kisses, was nominated for Best Urban Album. She is additionally slated to perform at this year’s Coachella.

Anitta is represented by S10’s Brandon Silverstein, Ed Shapiro at Reed Smith and The Lede Company.

Gimme Radio, a digital radio service that fosters connections between artists and fans, raised $3 million in a funding round led by iHeartMedia.

Founded in 2017 by a team of digital music industry executives with experience as musicians, Gimme Radio allows artists to curate the music and fans to support them through tipping, merch sales and vinyl subscriptions. It also includes a chat feature that allows users and artists to connect in real time. Previous backers of the company include The Orchard, Concord, Metal Blade Records, Riser House Entertainment and Quartz Hill Records.

The new round of investment includes media spend across iHeartMedia properties, which will enable Gimme Radio to amplify its reach to fans of additional music genres (the service currently features metal and country stations) while allowing iHeartRadio to build communities of music fans around its own programming and talent.

“With our unparalleled reach in communities across America, iHeart’s brands and platforms connect artists and fans like no one else,” said Chris Williams, general manager and chief product officer of iHeartRadio, in a statement. “We’re pleased to partner with Gimme to further extend that important connection while enabling Gimme to reach our audience and provide companionship to Country and Metal fans with their innovative community- and creator-oriented features.”

“This team helped shape digital music as the world knows it today and Gimme is our vision for the future,” added Tyler Lenane, CEO and co-founder at Gimme Radio. “Creating rich communities of artists and fans who can have meaningful conversations, build real relationships, and transact directly with one another is how the world will experience music and support artists. In an era of pennies, Gimme is already putting whole dollars into artists’ pockets through incredible, community-based fan experiences.”Currently, over 1,200 artists host shows across Gimme Radio’s two stations, Gimme Metal and Gimme Country. They include Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and Chuck Prophet.

Create Music Group acquired VRTCL, the content management and influencer marketing agency founded by Griffin Haddrill and Sean Young in 2019. The acquisition will allow Create to expand the company’s social media marketing capabilities.

VRTCL – which was designed to bridge the gap between the music and digital landscapes by offering social media strategies for record labels, brands and artists – will continue being led by Haddrill. The company has helped propel the success of hit TikTok singles by artists including Lil Nas X, Saweetie and Glass Animals and boasts a portfolio that spans labels including Atlantic, Republic, AWAL and Sony.

“The addition of VRTCL to Create’s group of companies ensures that we are able to offer independent artists all over the world the best digital marketing expertise and execution available anywhere,” said Create Music Group founder and CEO Jonathan Strauss in a statement.

Added Haddrill, “Sean and I are excited to bring VRTCL to Create Music Group as we look to expand our business within social media. VRTCL continues to be a leader in the viral marketing space committed to execution and innovation. We have a hyper-focus on data which will continue to be strengthened by this partnership.”

Create Music Group is a data-driven media and technology company designed to empower artists and creators. The company has made investments in content properties on Instagram and TikTok, including the TikTok non-influencer brand Flighthouse, which boasts over 28 million followers.

Sex Pistols founding member Glen Matlock signed a worldwide solo deal with Universal Music Group. Under the agreement, Matlock will release “a timely and politically pertinent” new album in 2022, while UMG’s catalog division will re-release several of his previous solo albums.

Matlock is the original bassist and songwriter for the Sex Pistols. He co-penned songs including “Anarchy In The UK,” “God Save The Queen” and “Pretty Vacant.” He later formed several bands, including Rich Kids with Midge Ure.

Matlock’s solo albums include 2018’s Good to Go and 2011’s Born Running.

B2B distributor FUGA signed a deal with Mascot Label Group to distribute Mascot’s full catalog across FUGA’s global DSP network and provide marketing services, including playlist targeting and user-generated content, for the company.

The agreement encompasses Mascot’s six imprints – Mascot Records, Provogue Records, Music Theories Recordings, Cool Green Records, The Funk Garage and The Players Club – including the label group’s existing catalog of over 6,000 songs and new releases. Mascot is home to artists including Black Stone Cherry, Beth Hart and Shaman’s Harvest.

“We have seen digital become more and more a part of our world and our turnover, and have been considering what we want streaming to be for us,” said Mascot CEO Ed van Zijl. “We are delighted to have finally made our decision to join FUGA – a decision that we feel most powerfully maintains our independence.”

FUGA also announced that it has extended its delivery of immersive audio to TIDAL. The company has already delivered Dolby Atmos-mixed tracks from clients including Anjunabeats and Ninja Tune.

“We’re delighted to give our members access to more immersive audio experiences and to give Independent labels more options to deliver music in Dolby Atmos,” said TIDAL’s COO Lior Tibon. “With the power of FUGA backing Indie labels, and the expertise of our teams at TIDAL, this is a move that will truly enhance the music listening experience on TIDAL.”

Added Harmen Hemminga, FUGA’s partnerships & strategic projects head, “With the positive reception of immersive audio by audiences and growing adoption of the new format, we’re seeing artists and labels create new listener experiences as well as creative possibilities for the remixing of live recordings and reinterpretation of back catalog releases. With TIDAL’s focus on high quality audio experiences, it was only natural to work with their team to make it possible for all FUGA clients to deliver immersive audio to the service using our array of delivery technologies.”

B2B music licensing subscription service Feed Media Group signed a music licensing deal with Beggars Group for its Adaptr product, a subscription-based platform that makes it easier for early-stage startups to license music.

Under the deal, the Beggars catalog – which comprises indie labels 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, Young and XL Recordings – will now be available to Adaptr clients.

“Adaptr enables tech innovators to properly license music at the beginning of their product development, not as an afterthought,” said Beggars Group director of global strategy Simon Wheeler in a statement. “That approach is something we feel has been missing in the marketplace and is important for Beggars to be part of, we’re pleased to be a part of an ecosystem that helps new services develop, using and paying fairly for high quality music.”

The agreement with Beggars Group follows previous licensing deals struck between Adaptr and such labels, distributors and publishers as Warner Music Group, Merlin, BMG, Kobalt, Spirit, Reservoir and Warner Chappell.

Trust Records will bring punk and hardcore label BYO Records’ (Better Youth Organization) catalog to all streaming platforms.

Founded in 1981 and led by Youth Brigade members Shawn and Mark Stern, the BYO Records roster includes Rancid, SNFU, Bouncing Souls, Hepcat, The Briefs and Hot Water Music.

Of Trust Records, Shawn Stern said in a statement, “They understand the importance of keeping the music and ideals of punk rock alive and available to everyone so we can all continue to inspire young and old with the DIY ethics that we have championed for over 40 years. And in these difficult and unprecedented times, it’s important work that we are happy to see them carry on in the same spirit and inspiration that fueled our vision from the beginning.”

To commemorate the streaming distribution partnership, Trust and BYO launched a limited-edition merch line featuring new designs from BYO artists SNFU, Agression and 7Seconds.

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter ASTN signed to Warner Records, which just released his latest single, “Gradually.”

ASTN came to attention with his viral remix of Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” which accumulated over 59 million views on TikTok alone, according to a press release. His other releases include the EPs Tell Your Friends and last year’s It’s Not That Serious.

In a statement, Warner Records co-chairman and CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck called ASTN “a star in the making” and lauded his “natural ability to utilize all the tools the social space has to offer” while “effortlessly” moving between pop and R&B influences.

ADA Japan, part of Warner Music Group’s independent distribution division Alternative Distribution Alliance, signed a global music distribution deal (sans China) with Japanese record company Bandai Namco Arts (BNArts), a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings that specializes in the recorded music production in the anime/gaming industry.

BNArts has produced theme tracks and original soundtracks for the Japanese animation industry for over 30 years. It currently manages four internal labels – Lantis, Purple One Star, Kiramune, and GOOM STUDIO – and focuses on the production of “anison” (anime songs), artist discovery and live event production.

Under the deal, ADA Japan will digitally release all of BNArts tracks, including songs for anime series like Love Live! School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Violet Evergarden. The first release under the agreement is “Reply,” a new track by Liyuu, a singer who also voices the character of Tang Keke in the anime series Love Live! Superstar!!

Live Nation will be the exclusive promoter for Omaha Performing Arts’ (O-pa) new live music venue Steelhouse Omaha, which is slated to open in mid-2023.

“Our relationship will…ensure that we are able to take advantage of the performing artists and entertainers they work with and bring them to fans in Omaha,” said O-pa president Joan Squires in a statement.

“We know this is a growing live music market, and Steelhouse Omaha will be a spectacular new venue for artists to play in Nebraska,“ added Jason Wright, president of Live Nation Midwest. “There is a lot of opportunity to bring more concerts to the city, and we really value the partnership with Omaha Performing Arts.”

Steelhouse Omaha, which is part of the planned expansion of O-pa’s arts and entertainment campus near the Holland Performing Arts Center, will accommodate audiences numbering between 1,500 and 3,000. The $104.1M venue was funded with private support as well as $1.1 million from the city of Omaha.

Sony Music Nashville signed newcomer Karley Scott Collins. The singer-songwriter, who is also signed to Warner Chappell Music for publishing, will release her debut track “Heavenly” on Feb. 4.

“I am so thrilled and excited to join the Sony Music Nashville Family,” Collins said. “From the second I met Randy and the entire team at Sony, they’ve supported me and my vision for my songs wholeheartedly. I couldn’t be more grateful for this new adventure with them or ask for a better team.” – Jessica Nicholson