MNRK Music Group (pronounced “monarch”) is the new name of eOne Music. The record label, music publishing and artist management company, which toymaker Hasbro sold to investment banking firm Blackstone for $385 million, will now operate as a standalone company. Chris Taylor, who became eOne Music’s chief executive in 2016, will continue as MNRK’s president/CEO, and, he says his entire team will make the transition with him.
The name change was a contractual requirement of the Hasbro sale (which will continue with its own music business), but Taylor says, “it’s also an opportunity for rebirth and to reintroduce ourselves and our strategy to the music industry.” According to Taylor, MNRK — the company’s logo references a monarch butterfly — is “unique in the indie sphere in that we work in all genres, from heavy metal to gospel.”
The company’s music roster includes The Lumineers, Brandy, The Game, Blueface, Juicy J, Pop Evil, Shovels & Rope, Black Label Society and Jonathan McReynolds, as well as the Death Row Records and Dualtone Music Group. Management clients includes DJ/producers Kaytranada and Boston Bun; mariach, norteño and ranchera singer-songwriter Lupita Infante, rapper Powfu and rock band Arkells. Its music publishing arm administers songs sung by Mariah Carey and Celine Dion as well as the Chuck Berry catalog. MNRK’s catalog across all divisions totals 54,000 songs. As eOne Music, the company reported income of $117M in 2020.
As part of the terms of sale, MNRK also brought with it an in-house music department that works with film and television production companies. It’s most recent work, on the eOne/Netflix films The Starling and My Little Pony: A New Generation, based on the Hasbro franchise — both released in September — were projects begun under its previous ownership. Taylor says MNRK also has working relationships with Sugar23, producer of the Apple+ series Dickinson, and BRON Studios, which has produced and, in some cases, financed such films and TV series as Candyman, Judas And The Black Messiah and the HBO Max series Euphoria. The division also provides music for the children’s TV series Peppa Pig.
Now that MNRK is part of Blackstone’s portfolio, which includes the performing rights organization SESAC, Taylor says, “We’re going to have more opportunities to look at M&A than we had under Hasbro/eOne. We’re not looking to build the sort of business that Hipgnosis or Primary.Wave has, but we are interested in opportunities that involve creators’ and songwriters’ work. We’re a smaller version of what Concord or BMG is in that respect.”