A quintet of indie label veterans have joined together to launch a new investment fund with the goal of supporting artists, creators and entrepreneurs in the indie music world.
The company, Exceleration Music, is being led by an executive team consisting of former Concord Music Group CEO Glen Barros, former Concord Records president John Burk, former Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, former Ingrooves general manager Amy Dietz and former Epitaph Records general manager Dave Hansen, all of whom have decades of experience in the independent music business. With “substantial investment capital” and a mission grounded in “integrity, fairness, openness, humility and excellence,” according to a press release, Exceleration aims to both support indie companies looking to grow or entrepreneurs seeking an “honorable exit” without betraying the values on which their companies had been founded and run.
As part of the company’s unveiling, Exceleration announced a partnership with 50-year-old indie blues and roots label Alligator Records and its founder Bruce Iglauer. Under the deal, Iglauer and his team in Chicago will maintain control over A&R, promotion, project marketing, signings and releases, while Exceleration will handle Alligator’s financial, operational and administrative side, with both working together on legacy marketing. Neither the amount of the investment in Alligator, nor the amount of Exceleration’s capital fund, were disclosed.
Additionally, Exceleration announced it acquired Candid Records, a largely defunct jazz label that it plans to relaunch this year with new releases and catalog reissues. Exceleration also has an agreement with the Ray Charles Foundation for special releases from the legend’s vault, which already kick-started with the December 2020 digital release of the original recording of “Georgia On My Mind.”
“With our industry becoming more and more commoditized, I wanted to put people first — people who care about independent music and share similar values,” Barros said in a statement. “Quite frankly, I am completely amazed and truly blessed by how this strategy has developed. To have partners like John, Amy, Charles and Dave is truly a dream come true. But it goes beyond this, to the great investors we’re working with, the team we’re assembling, our professional advisors and now the opportunity to work with Bruce at Alligator and Valerie Ervin at the Ray Charles Foundation. With a dedicated group like this, I know we’re going to do great things for the indie community and have a lot of fun along the way.”