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The Deals: NFT Supergroup KINGSHIP Taps Hitmakers; Sam MacPherson Signs With Elektra

Also this week: iHeartMedia strikes a deal with WMG's podcast network, Warner Chappell reaches a licensing partnership with Kuaishou and more.

Producers and songwriters Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy joined Universal Music Group/10:22PM‘s KINGSHIP project as co-executive producers. They will serve as the “sonic creative team” overseeing the NFT supergroup’s music direction and sound, according to a press release. Comprised of Captain (vocals, bass), KING (lead vocals), Arnell (beats, producer, drums) and Hud (guitar, keyboards, vocals), KINGSHIP recently shared a 30-second animation titled “Rider” featuring the group.


New Jersey-bred, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Sam MacPherson (“Routine,” “Last Minute”) signed with Elektra Records, which will release his new single “Backseat (All I Got)” — co-written by MacPherson, Emma Rosen and Adam Yaron — on Friday (Sept. 16). The project is being supported through a partnership with artist development and marketing company Group Projects. “I’m excited to partner with Elektra – not only because of their incredible roster of artists – but because of the people that work there who really understand my vision,” said MacPherson in a statement. Elektra vp of A&R Johnny Minardi added, “Sam’s songwriting immediately caught my attention, as it’s so authentic and honest. You can feel him pouring emotion into every lyric with his vocal delivery. I’m excited for everyone to jump into his music and love it as much as we do here at Elektra.”

Sam MacPherson
Sam MacPherson Maxwell Goldberg

iHeartMedia and Warner Music Group’s recently-launched podcast network Interval Presents struck a multi-year deal that will see the two companies co-produce a slate of shows this fall that range from ongoing weekly podcasts to limited-run series. Under the deal, Interval will distribute its podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network to all podcast consumption platforms while leveraging iHeartMedia’s Omny/Triton platform for hosting, distribution and programmatic ad sales as well as audience and data insights. Interval’s existing podcasts include Rap Radar and Holding Court with Eboni K. Williams, with several others slated to drop soon.

Warner Chappell Music (WCM) and the China-based content and social platform Kuaishou struck a licensing agreement that will make WMC’s music catalog available on Kuaishou products in “priority markets” across the globe, according to a press release. Kuaishou claims over 180 million monthly active users outside of China on apps including Kwai (Latin America and MENA) and SnackVideo (South and Southeast Asia).

Round Hill Music acquired the music royalty interests, including producer royalties and neighboring rights, of late producer Bruce Fairbairn. His production credits include such bestselling albums as Bon Jovi‘s Slippery When Wet and New Jersey; Aerosmith‘s Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get a Grip; AC/DC‘s The Razors Edge; and Van Halen‘s Balance. He also produced albums for acts including Loverboy, Blue Öyster Cult, Scorpions, Poison, Chicago, The Cranberries, INXS, Kiss and Yes. Fairbairn died in 1999.

Cumulus Media and livestreaming audio service TuneIn renewed and expanded their existing content partnership with a new deal that adds 325 podcasts and the Cumulus Podcast Network to the TuneIn platform. TuneIn will continue making Cumulus Media’s local sports, news, talk and entertainment programming available to TuneIn listeners.

Downtown Music Holdings’ B2B distributor FUGA signed a deal with One Little Independent Records (OLI) to provide the label with distribution and global marketing services, including access to FUGA’s trends platform and audience engagement team. The agreement comes ahead of OLI’s release of Björk’s new album Fossora on Sept. 30.

Roc Nation signed HDBeenDope to a label deal. The rapper dropped a new free verse called “Paper Plans” and an accompanying video to celebrate the signing, and on Friday (Sept. 9) released his first single as a Roc Nation artist, “Wake Em Up” produced by Dizzy Banko.

Reservoir Media, in conjunction with leading Middle East and North Africa (MENA) music publisher and independent music company PopArabia, acquired Lebanese label and music publisher Voice of Beirut to further diversify Reservoir’s music rights in the region. Established in 1980, Voice of Beirut boasts sound recording and publishing rights to nearly 3,000 songs, including music by Arab stars including George Wassouf, Ragheb Alama, Ziad Rahbani and Sabah.

Up-and-coming Colombian artist Luis Alfonso inked a deal with Sony Music Latin via La Industria, Inc. The official signing was done on Tuesday (Sept. 13) ahead of an acoustic showcase at the Sony Music offices in Miami attended by Sony U.S. Latin President Alex Gallardo and La Industria CEO Juan Diego Medina (manager to Nicky Jam, Manuel Turizo and more). Hailing from Popayán, Alfonso is a rising act in the “musica popular” genre adn known for viral covers such as “El Precio de tu Error.” – Jessica Roiz

Believe-owned DIY digital music distributor TuneCore partnered with Groover, a web platform that allows independent artists to connect with music industry tastemakers and professionals. Under the deal, TuneCore artists will now be able to engage Groover’s worldwide network of music professionals, independent playlist curators and radio stations to receive feedback on their music and gain exposure. All TuneCore artists will receive an exclusive discount on their next Groover campaign, VIP service — including artist support via direct chat on Groover’s website — and personalized recommendations of Groover’s most relevant contacts and curators for their music. Additionally, indie artists using both TuneCore and Groover will be automatically considered for the new Breakout by TuneCore & Groover playlists, featured across major streaming platforms, as well as future promotional opportunities and artist spotlights on Groover’s social media channels.

BaseNote, a tech startup that allows fans to invest in their favorite artists, has launched. Through the app, fans can purchase investments in artists, directly funding the creation of new music and allowing them to receive a portion of the artists’ streaming royalties in return. Notably, BaseNote does not use blockchain technology, instead building upon an SEC law called “Regulation Crowdfund” that allows them to offer securities to non-accredited investors. The platform, which is regulated by the U.S. government agency FINRA, will feature artists Guordan Banks, Marty Grimes and Chrishan at launch.

IMPALA, the European association of independent record labels, signed a new partnership with U.S.-based tech company AudioSalad, which recently expanded into Europe and opened a London office. The deal falls under IMPALA’s Friends of IMPALA program, aimed at companies that are interested in working with the indie sector. AudioSalad offers a range of services for independent labels, distributors and rights holders, allowing clients to streamline their digital operations and implement their preferred licensing strategy. The company is an Apple Preferred Distributor & Encoding House, a Spotify Preferred Delivery Platform and a close technology partner of Merlin.

Nettwerk Music Group announced several new signings, including singer-songwriter-producer Billy Raffoul, who recently released his new single “Better” on the label; indie pop band The Collection, who just released the single “Sorry Baby”; and Germany-based producer-songwriter Shuko, who released the singles “Queen’s Flower” and “Sunset Ride.”

One House, a camp of writers, producers and other creatives who produce contemporary Christian and gospel music, partnered with Re:Think/Capitol Christian Music Group to release upcoming music projects. The first release under the deal is the single “Surrendered” featuring artists and songwriters Amanda Lindsey Cook, Mitch Wong and Roosevelt Stewart.

Web3 revenue share protocol Reveel raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding led by Binance Labs and Moment Ventures. The company previously participated in Binance’s incubation program. Reveel aims to ease collaborations by developing tools designed to make revenue sharing and royalty accounting easier. The company will use the funds for staff expansion and production development of their Web3 collaboration financial infrastructure and on-chain revenue management tools suite.

Country-pop artist and former The Voice contestant Casi Joy signed with booking agency Mint Talent Group. The deal follows her signing with Nashville-based label Vere Music in June.