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The Deals: BMG Acquires Simple Minds Music Rights, AmazeVR Signs JV with SM Entertainment

Also this week: Universal Music Thailand expands its relationship with Hype Train, Acast acquires Podchaser and more.

BMG acquired key music interests of Scottish rock band Simple Minds. The agreement, reached with frontman Jim Kerr and guitarist/keyboardist Charlie Burchill, includes publishing rights to over 240 songs across five albums, as well as neighboring rights and royalties from their entire recorded catalog. BMG had previously administered the band’s publishing catalog and, on the label side, released their 2018 album Walk Between Worlds; the company will also release their next studio album, Direction of the Heart, on Oct. 21. According to a press release, the band has sold over 60 million albums, with releases including Sparkle in the Rain (1984), Once Upon a Time (1985), Live in the City of Light (1987), Street Fighting Years (1989) and Glittering Prize 81/92 (1992). Key songs from the group include “Love Song,” “The American,” “Promised You A Miracle,” “Glittering Prize,” “Waterfront,” “Someone Somewhere in Summertime,” “Alive And Kicking” and “Belfast Child.” Their biggest U.S. hit, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” was written by Keith Forsey, meaning it does not fall under the publishing acquisition, though BMG will collect recorded and neighboring rights royalties for the track.

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Virtual reality concert platform AmazeVR signed a joint venture deal with South Korean entertainment group SM Entertainment and its metaverse content production arm Studio KWANGYA. Together, the companies will launch Studio A, a Seoul, South Korea-based joint venture that will produce immersive VR concerts for artists on SM’s roster (Aespa, NCT, Super Junior and more) and beyond using AmazeVR’s VR concert creation tools. Concerts will be distributed via AmazeVR’s VR music metaverse service and SM’s VR metaverse service.

Universal Music Thailand (UMT) reached an expanded partnership with Thailand music label Hype Train Group. In addition to distribution, Universal will now also provide label support, including servicing digital partners, new business and marketing and developing Hype Train projects, while helping introduce Hype Train artists to audiences across the globe. Launched in late 2020 by Thai hip-hop producer Krerg Chankwang (a.k.a. Nino), the label’s roster includes Seedaa The Villain and Sprite.

Independent podcast company Acast acquired leading podcast database Podchaser. Under the deal, Podchaser will continue operating as a separate brand and independent business. The companies will work together to expand and improve Podchaser’s existing podcast metadata, which includes over 4.5 million podcasts and more than 1.7 billion global data points, which will remain available to all. Through the acquisition, Acast and Podchaser hope to increase discoverability to provide an improved resource for listeners, advertisers and partners.

Three Six Zero purchased SARM Studios in West London. The recording facility contains six studios and a suite of offices; it was most recently owned by musician and producer Trevor Horn CBE. The complex will be refurbished before reopening as “a fundamental part of the Three Six Zero ecosystem,” according to a press release. The facilities will be made available to all Three Six Zero clients and partners; the complex will also serve as Three Six Zero Recordings’ new home base.

Singer-songwriter Montell Fish and his label Lord’s Child signed with Virgin Music Label and Artist Services. The company will release Fish’s new album, JAMIE, on Friday (July 22), preceded by the singles “Hollow Lover” and “love you more than me.”

Country singer-songwriter Corey Kent signed with Sony Music Nashville via the label’s RCA Nashville imprint. The signing follows Kent’s development work with Combustion Music, which will continue its relationship with the singer for publishing and more. To celebrate his signing, he recently released a version of his Billboard Hot 100 single “Wild As Her” featuring Carter Faith.

Hopeless Records signed alt-pop artist Phem, who released her first music on the label — the single “BRKDWN” — on July 8. To date, she has collaborated with artists including Tyler Posey, G-Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Tracy, The Hunna and Alison Wonderland,

Mexican newcomer Michelle Maciel has signed with OCESA SeiTrack for global management. Under the new alliance, OCESA will manage the artist’s career worldwide. Spotlighted on Billboard’s “On The Radar Latin” last month, Maciel kicked off his career in the midst of the pandemic, and in a span of two years, has released more than 10 singles including a collaboration with Eden Muñoz. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter is currently on Billboard’s Latin Pop Airplay chart with his Ramon Vega-assisted single “eScoRpiOn :).”

MELON, a development studio for the metaverse, raised a $5 million seed round from investors including Crush Ventures (the music investment arm of Crush Music), Gaingels, Comcast Spectacor and a special purpose vehicle (SPV) led by former Roblox CFO Matt Finick, who has also joined the MELON board. The round also drew investment from strategic angels including Beyond Type 1 CEO (and former Recording Academy CEO) Deborah Dugan, 88rising head of BD/brand partnerships Jason Ve and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman partner Gene Salomon, among others. In music, MELON has previously developed metaverse events for artists including Tai Verdes, Ava Max, KSI and Zara Larsson.

Grammy-winning producer and mixer Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, Charli XCX, The Killers) signed with TaP Music for management. He will be managed by the firm’s René Symonds.

The MVMNT, a hip-hop collective from India, signed a label partnership with Nas‘ record label Mass Appeal that will allow it to increase its volume of releases, foster more collaborations with both established and developing acts and more. The MVMNT roster includes rappers DAKAIT, Yungsta and Aniket Raturi. The track “gainde ilaake se” by Indian producer Sez on the Beat and rapper Ab 17 will be the first release under the deal.

Multichain wallet Zelus partnered with Rolling Loud to be the festival’s official crypto wallet. Zelus and Rolling Loud will release free digital collectibles and offer festival attendees opportunities to win other prizes available exclusively through the Zelus wallet, including ticket upgrades, passes to future festivals, exclusive merch and airdrops. The first activation will take place at Rolling Loud Miami, followed by activations at upcoming Rolling Loud festivals, including Rolling Loud Toronto and Rolling Loud NYC.

Chinese superstar G.E.M. signed to Warner Music China, which will release her new album, Revelation, with the goal of introducing her to audiences across the globe.

Alternative hip-hop artist Layto signed to Position Music after previously signing a publishing deal with the company last year. His first single on the label was “LESS U KNOW” feat. Ryan Oakes, released July 15.

Singer-songwriter Paravi signed with RCA Records and released the song “Golden Child” on the label. She will release more original music this summer and fall.

Ayo the Producer (Skrillex, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross) and singer-rapper RMR signed to Three Six Zero for management. Both will be managed by David Savage, who will share management duties for RMR with Cody Kazarian.

Nettwerk Records signed Southern California-based artist Presence (a.k.a. Jonathon Martinez). His first single on the label, “Nightmare,” was released on July 8. His forthcoming EP will be announced at a later date.

New Zealand singer-songwriter Fazerdaze (born Amelia Murray) signed a label deal with Section1, which is distributed by Partisan. Her first album on the newly launched label is the single “Come Apart.”

Bluegrass/country band Dailey & Vincent signed with Conway Entertainment Group (CEG) for touring representation.

Nevermined, a digital asset development platform led by CEO Don Gossen that allows creators, artists and brands to more easily create and monetize digital assets for web3, announced their initial investment round of €3 million ($3.05 million), co-led by Signature Ventures and Polymorphic Capital. Among other things, the company will use the funds to deepen its relationship with Autonomies, a music NFT platform.

Web3 content engagement platform Sator formed a strategic alliance with ALIBI Music, a provider of music and sound effects for film, TV, streaming and video games. ALIBI, whose tracks have been featured in series including Westworld, The Flight Attendant and The Masked Singer, has aligned with Sator to hep the company adapt to Web3 distribution of popular titles. The company will prioritize Sator’s platform, Sator.io, for upcoming NFT drops featuring ALIBI tracks. Sator also plans to use ALIBI tracks in the company’s metaverse project “Satorverse.”