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The Deals: TikTok Has Faith in Believe, BBRMG Vets Launch Label With The Orchard

A roundup of notable music industry deals from the past two weeks, including TikTok's agreement with digital music company Believe and a joint venture between The Orchard and a trio of Nashville…

TikTok has signed a multi-year marketing and distribution partnership with digital music company Believe that will give Believe’s artists and labels further opportunities for exposure on the wildly popular video-sharing platform. Under the deal, the entire music repertoire of Believe and its subsidiary TuneCore will continue to be licensed for use on TikTok across the globe.

According to a release announcing the deal, Believe distributes more than one-third of the world’s digital music in volume. To maximize TikTok exposure for its artists and labels, the company previously invested in dedicated TikTok audience development experts and hosted TikTok webinars for its producers during the pandemic.

Several Believe members have already scored viral hits on TikTok, including The Limba (“Smoothie,” over 2.5 million videos representing one billion views), Petit Biscuit (“Sunset Lover,” “You”) and Indian artist Inder Chahal. At TuneCore, over 200,000 artists have distributed 300,000 releases on the platform, including Sales, whose songs “Chinese New Year” and “Renee” have generated 2.2 million and 631,000 TikTok videos, respectively.

Under the partnership, TuneCore’s TikTok team has also compiled the “TikTok For Musicians 101 Survival Guide” for the independent artist community.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Believe and TuneCore, with their incredible track record of empowering the independent music community,” said TikTok global head of music Ole Obermann in a statement. “Bringing their family of labels and musicians to TikTok will help our global and diverse audience discover new music while also delivering creative ways for artists and fans to come together on our platform. Supporting independent artists has always been hugely important to TikTok, and this partnership is the next big step in bringing a more diverse range of music to our community.”

Added Believe founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie, “We are thrilled to strengthen our distribution deal with TikTok, adding an innovative dimension to it. I would like to thank both teams for their collaborative effort to further increase marketing coverage and revenues for our independent artists at all stages of their career. This is a fantastic opportunity for Believe’ s artists to engage deeper with their audiences.”



BBR Music Group founders Benny and Paul Brown and songwriter Jason Sellers have entered a joint venture with music distributor The Orchard to form the full-service, Nashville-based country music label Quartz Hill Records.

The Browns founded BBR Music Group in 1999 and spawned numerous hits, including Craig Morgan’s “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” Jason Aldean‘s “She’s Country” and Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not.” The company was acquired by BMG Rights Management in February 2017.

Sellers has co-written songs such as Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Rascal Flatts’ “I Won’t Let Go” and Joe Nichols’ “Sunny and 75.”



Influencer management company TalentX – the firm behind TikTok collective Sway LA – has partnered with Warner Records to create a new record label, TalentX Records. Its first signee is TalentX co-founder and social media star Josh Richards.

Richards currently boasts 20 million followers and 1.2 billion likes on TikTok. Earlier this year, he garnered over 25 million YouTube views for the song “Still Softish” featuring Sway member Bryce Hall. He is currently on hiatus from the Sway house to focus on his music career.

The Warner Records deal follows a number of others TalentX has signed as of late with companies including Sony/ATV, Sound Factory, Ozone Entertainment and gaming giant ReKTGlobal. The company also recently appointed Gavin Rudolph to run the TalentX music division.



Asia-focused music and media collective 88rising and Philippines mobile provider Globe Telecom are launching Paradise Rising, a localized record label.

Set to launch next week, Paradise Rising will serve as a platform to establish Filipino artists in the West and throughout the world via distribution, rights management and artist development, following the model previously established by 88rising proper.

The launch of Paradise Rising will be commemorated with its first mixtape, semilucent, on July 31. The release will feature a bevy of well-known local artists with Filipino roots, including Kiana V, Massiah, Jason Dhakal, Leila Alcasid and Fern.



Deezer has struck an exclusive partnership with Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Salinas that will see the streaming service promoted across all businesses and services of Grupo Salinas subsidiaries, including TV Azteca. The deal, which will provide Deezer with a total expected investment of $40 million over a multi-year period, is designed to ramp up Deezer’s growth in Mexico, where it already enjoys a sizable user base.

Under the agreement, Deezer will be promoted through creative campaigns on TV Azteca. In addition, Deezer will offer digital music to complement the purchases of customers at Grupo Salinas’s Grupo Elektra storefronts across the country. Music fans in Mexico can also sign up for the streaming service directly via Grupo Salinas’ Totalplay entertainment platform.

Deezer will also take over the popular Azteca Uno TV show Mugo Live and rename it Deezer Live, with a focus on introducing new and emerging local talent via regular live performances. The streaming service also acquired the Mugo social music app as part of the agreement.

The new deal values Deezer at $1.4 billion, which represents a 30% increase in the company’s value from its successful funding round in 2018. Deezer currently boasts a large user base in Latin America and is already the second-largest streaming service in Brazil.



Julia Stone has signed an exclusive worldwide recording contract with BMG. The announcement comes ahead of the release of Stone’s first solo album since 2012.

Stone most recently curated the charity album Songs For Australia, which raised funds for organizations providing bushfire relief. Her first solo album, The Memory Machine, was released in 2010, followed by By the Horns in 2012. She is one-half of the ARIA and APRA Award-winning sister-brother duo Angus & Julia Stone, which has released four albums to date: A Book Like This, Down the Way, Angus & Julia Stone and Snow.



BMG Production Music (BMGPM) has acquired production music company Dynamic Music, bringing the Dynamic label and its contributing producers under the BMGPM umbrella. The acquisition evolves the relationship between the two companies, which formed a sub-publishing agreement in 2018 that has doubled Dynamic’s revenue over the past two years and secured over 100 hours of music across TV and radio stations worldwide from roughly 30,000 usages.

Founded in 2014 by David Felton, Will Mills and Sharooz Raoofi and overseen by company director Rachel Menzies, Dynamic Music’s 3,500-track catalog has earned media placements across TV, film and advertising worldwide. It includes albums written by The Shapeshifters, Kid Massive and Birdee, among many others.



Veteran Nashville manager Erv Woolsey has formed a label imprint, Rollin’ The Dice Records, under the umbrella of his own Erv Woolsey Company (EWC), home to artists including LeeAnn Womack and George Strait. The digital-focused imprint, which focuses mainly on the marketing and distribution of releases by select EWC artists, will operate under a distribution deal with Copperline Music Group.

The first signee to Rollin’ The Dice is southern rock band Stone Senate, who released a cover of Strait’s “The Fireman” earlier this month.

“We aren’t by any means trying to play the mainstream record label game,” said Woolsey in a statement. “But with modern technology and so many creative outlets at our disposal in this day and age, it allows us the opportunity to give our newer artists or select passion projects a stronger start and higher profile early in the development of their career.”



Kobalt’s recording company AWAL has renewed a worldwide partnership with English indie rockers The Wombats ahead of their fifth studio album. AWAL will provide global services such as digital and physical distribution, global marketing and campaign coordination and synch licensing for the upcoming release.

The Wombats’ last album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, was released in February 2018 via the band’s own label on AWAL Recordings. The album went silver in the U.K. and spawned a sold-out U.K. headline tour; the group also accompanied Pixies and Weezer on a North American tour in the summer of 2018 and headlined the Reading and Leeds main stage in both 2018 and 2019.



Sony Music India has signed an exclusive recording deal with Indian rapper/producer/TV personality Raftaar (a.k.a. Dilin Nair), as well as a partnership with Raftaar and Anki Khanna’s independent label Kalamkaar.

“Our new partnership with Sony Music is key in accelerating the growth and reach of the independent music movement – not only in India; but also among the millions of Indian diaspora around the world,” said Raftaar in a statement. Added Khanna, “We look forward to this new partnership with Sony Music India, which aims to increase the scale and scope of non-film music in India, break independent hip-hop and rap into the mainstream and reinvigorate the listening experiences of music enthusiasts.”

Kalamkaar’s roster includes Deep Kalsi, Rashmeet Kaur and Yunan.



Los Angeles-based Armenian rapper and producer Super Sako has signed an exclusive global record deal with BMG ahead of the release of his forthcoming album, Beautiful Mess. The album’s first single, “Tik Tok” – a collaborative effort with Egyptian rapper Mohamed Ramadan – was released earlier this month.

Super Sako came to prominence with the single “Mi Gna” from his album Love Crimes, which became a massive hit across Armenia, Turkey, the Arab region and several European countries and racked up over 300 million views on YouTube.



Australian pop artist CXLOE has signed a deal with Sandlot Records in global partnership with AWAL Recordings.

The deal was announced alongside the release of CXLOE’s latest single, “12 Steps,” which she co-wrote with Michael Pollack. The track was produced by Andrew Wells and The Futuristics. Her previous songs include “Tough Love,” “Low Blow,” “I Can’t Have Nice Things,” “SICK” and “Show You.” She has written with Justin Tranter and Ross Golan, among others.

CXLOE has pledged all first-week streaming earnings of the addiction-themed “12 Steps” to the Australian suicide prevention service Lifeline.