Skip to main content

The Deals: Stevie Van Zandt Signs ‘Multimillion-Dollar’ Primary Wave Pact; BandLab Buys Airbit

Also this week: Utopia Music unloads ROSTR, Codiciado signs with Virgin Music U.S. Latin and more.

Primary Wave Music struck a multimillion-dollar deal with Stevie Van Zandt through which Primary Wave will manage Van Zandt’s music publishing and recorded music catalogs, as well as a portion of his name and likeness rights. The agreement includes a stake in producer royalties from Van Zandt’s work with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes as well as band member and producer royalties from his longtime collaboration with Bruce Springsteen. Encompassed by the deal are some of Van Zandt’s biggest songs, including Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes’ “I Don’t Want To Go Home” and “This Time It’s For Real”; his protest anthem “I Am A Patriot” (covered by artists including Jackson Browne and Pearl Jam); the theme song for his Netflix series, Lilyhammer; and Darlene Love’s “All Alone On Christmas.” Van Zandt will have access to Primary Wave’s marketing team and publishing infrastructure, including digital strategy, licensing, synch opportunities and film & TV production.


BandLab Technologies — parent company of social music creation platform BandLab, digital audio workstation Cakewalk and artist services platform ReverbNation — acquired beat marketplace Airbit. The acquisition expands BandLab’s creator toolset, which also includes DAW and AI musical idea generator SongStarter. According to a release, artists have earned over $50 million on Airbit, with more than 2 million beats sold. Airbit CEO Wasim Khamlichi will step down from the role after a transition period, though all current Airbit employees will be retained under the deal.

Utopia Music is selling ROSTR, a free-to-use music industry directory and data platform, back to ROSTR founders Mark Williamson and Adam Watson. Utopia purchased the company in December 2021 with the intention of strengthening its direct offerings for creators, but, following a recent strategic reorganization, it has since refocused its efforts on serving creators through third parties via its B2B offerings, according to a press release. “Utopia and ROSTR came together with a shared mission of making a better world for music, although we’ll be pursuing this mission on separate paths, we know ROSTR is an invaluable resource for the music industry and we wish Mark, Adam, and the whole ROSTR team the best of luck,” said Utopia Music executive chairman and founder Mattias Hjelmstedt in a statement.

Codiciado signed an exclusive distribution deal with Virgin Music U.S. Latin via Golden Ink Entertainment. The signing comes shortly after the trap corridos singer, born Erick Aragon, launched his solo career independent from his longtime band Grupo Codiciado. As a soloist, he’s released a handful of singles, including “La Que Se Fue” and “Ando Enfocado.” About the deal, Frank Medina, executive producer and chairman at Golden Ink, said, “We are very excited for everything that is coming with Codiciado, Golden Ink and Virgin Music. We remain focused on producing quality music for our audience and carrying the Mexican flag high.” – Griselda Flores


Web3 record label and in-house entertainment studio Hume signed with CAA. The agency will help the company “identify and create opportunities across a variety of areas, including licensing and merchandising, brand partnerships, live events, film, and television and more,” according to a press release. “Working with CAA presents an opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional media and Web3 to bring metastars into the mainstream,” added Hume chief artist officer and co-founder Jay Stolar in a statement. Hume “metastars” include Angelbaby and the recently-launched Clio.

Warner Music India acquired a majority stake in Divo, a digital media and music company in India with a presence across all four South Indian language music markets. Divo works with labels, artists and musicians to help distribute and monetize their content across digital platforms, radio and TV stations. It released more than 30,000 songs last year in the Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telegu music industries. “This move will strengthen our presence in the south of the country, enabling us to have a truly strong Pan-India presence,” said Warner Music India managing director Jay Mehta in a statement.

“Astronaut in the Ocean” rapper Masked Wolf reunited with Australian indie label Teamwrk under a new global distribution partnership with Ingrooves Music Group, which will now distribute releases for all Teamwrk artists. Masked Wolf’s first single under the partnership, “Never the Same,” drops on Friday (Feb. 10).


Warner Music Central Europe and Stefan Dabruck Management (SDM) extended and expanded their partnership. Under the new deal, the two companies “will build on their joint success and focus on taking European Dance music to a new global audience by marrying up Warner Recorded Music’s powerful global network and SDM’s second-to-none creative talent,” according to a press release. The new chapter of the partnership will kick off with a series of songwriting camps and releases in 2023.

Secretly Distribution reached a strategic partnership with independent royalty accounting platform Infinite Catalog. According to a press release, the partnership will make it easier for Secretly labels including Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Saddest Factory Records and Secretly Canadian to pay their artists “more often.” Infinite Catalog is already in use by more than 20 Secretly Distribution labels. “Like us, Infinite Catalog is committed to bringing scale advantage to small and medium-sized labels, so that at a relatively low cost they can have the same caliber of royalty processing capabilities as the biggest music companies,” said Secretly Distribution co-CEO Darius Van Arman in a statement.

Electro-pop trio ARIZONA signed with Fueled By Ramen and will release a forthcoming project on the label. Their new single, “Moving On,” is the band’s first new music release in four years.


Singer-songwriter Dylan Marlowe signed with Sony Music Nashville in conjunction with Play It Again Entertainment, with whom Marlowe signed a publishing and artist development deal in 2020. He recently released the track “Record High” and was named one of Spotify’s 2023 country artists to watch.

SoundCloud and Pandora renewed their advertising sales agreement. Pandora parent company SiriusXM’s combined sales group, SXM Media, will continue to serve as the exclusive ad representative for SoundCloud into 2024. SoundCloud’s ad inventory will now be available through AudioGO, the new self-serve advertising platform owned by SiriusXM subsidiary AdsWizz.

Decca Classics signed composer and conductor Tan Dun, who in 2000 won an Oscar for his score to the blockbuster action film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The label will release several Dun projects this year, including Five Souls (Mar. 3), Buddha Passion (Apr. 7) and The Tears of Nature (September). It will also release five of his previously unavailable catalog albums.


Warner Music Asia signed Singaporean singer-songwriter Gentle Bones. The label will work to grow his fan base in key markets outside Singapore. Gentle Bones’ debut release on Warner Music Asia, “The Right Words,” is slated for release on Friday (Feb. 10) as the first single from his forthcoming EP.

ASM Global has assumed the management and operation of Wake Forest University‘s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. The company’s purview will include facility operations, staffing, event-booking and production services for Truist Field, LJVM Coliseum and David F. Couch Ballpark. ASM Global’s Wake Forest team is led by GM Brandon Berry, who assumed the role in September; a total of seven ASM Global employees work at the venue, with two additional full-time positions due to be added this year. Wake Forest will sunset its formal booking collaboration with Greensboro Coliseum, which has been in place since 2013.

SaveLive announced two new venue partners: Eagles Entertainment, which boasts a network that includes Eagles Ballroom, Rave and the Rave II in Milwaukee; and The Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, Calif.


The Red Clay Strays signed with WME for global representation in all areas. The group will be represented by Jay Williams, co-head of WME’s Nashville office, as well as Aaron Tannenbaum, Alex Collignon and Kanan Vitolo. They’re slated to play 28 dates opening for Elle King this spring, as well as four dates opening for Eric Church this summer, in addition to various festival dates. The group, which released their debut album, Moment of Truth, last year, is managed by Cody Payne of Conway Entertainment Group.

Nettwerk signed Florida band The Haunt and alt-pop artist Kevitch. The first Haunt release by the label is the group’s new single, “Shake.” Nettwerk will also release Kevitch’s single, “Secrets,” on Friday (Feb. 10).

Country singer Aaron Watson signed with Roundhouse Entertainment for management. On Feb. 2, Watson embarked on a headlining tour, Roughstock Road Show, to support his current album, Unwanted Man.