The Deals: Toni Braxton Re-Ups With Lifetime; Primary Wave Partners With Times Music in India
Also this week: Warner Music strikes a distribution agreement with Singaporean label Cross Ratio; Justin Hurwitz pacts with Score a Score and more.
Grammy-winning singer and actress Toni Braxton inked a new, all-encompassing production deal with Lifetime and A+E. Under the agreement, Braxton’s Braxtoni Production will oversee and executive produce multiple projects for the network. The production company will be based at Lifetime’s Los Angeles offices. Braxton has starred in and executive produced multiple movies for Lifetime over the last decade; in 2016, the network premiered Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, a biopic about Braxton starring Lex Scott Davis as the singer.
Primary Wave Music partnered with Indian record label and music publisher Times Music. Under the deal, Primary Wave will invest “significant capital” in the company while providing resources for additional Indian catalog investments and helping accelerate the growth of its existing regional, film and non-film music catalogs by assisting the Times Music team in uncovering opportunities in the United States, Europe and other markets in A&R, branding, synch, film/TV and digital marketing, according to a press release. Times Music is looking to make further investments in Bollywood and South Indian cinema music as well as “iconic Indian catalogs,” the release states. Times Music is a subsidiary of The Times of India Group.
Warner Music Singapore and Cross Ratio Entertainment, a leading Singaporean independent record label, signed an exclusive global distribution agreement. Under the deal, Warner Music Singapore will work closely with Cross Ratio on new releases, catalogs, brand partnerships, synchronization deals and marketing events as well as on identifying and upstreaming artists. The Cross Ratio roster includes Akeem Jahat, Alfred Sim, Belinda Lee, and Derrick Hoh; the label also distributes over 200 additional artists.
Academy Award-winning composer Justin Hurwitz (Whiplash, La La Land) partnered with music-for-advertising and sonic branding company Score a Score to expand Hurwitz’s “creative energy to the world of advertising — applying his unique ability to create ‘earworm’ melodies on the big screen to short-form campaigns,” according to a press release. Hurwitz has previously worked with brands including De’Loghi, Heineken and Louis Vuitton.
Will Ward — head of the talent, music, production and incubator company, Fourward — launched Fourward Ventures, a $50 million, early-stage growth fund actively investing in sectors including health and wellness, sustainability and consumer packaged goods. The company has successfully closed half the fund and is on track to close the rest by September 15. “The company seeks brands that disrupt traditional consumer categories through innovation and aims to drive change in society through products or services,” according to a press release, and will help “to quickly scale cutting edge early-stage brands into world-class businesses.” The fund has already invested in nine companies: Audio Up, Goodles, Lomi by Pela, Mad Rabbit, Partake, Samsara, Starface, Julie and Bryn Pharma. Ten percent of carry profits will be set aside for three different charities not named in the release.
Advertising, communications, technology and commerce holding company WPP has acquired sonic branding agency amp sound branding. Under the deal, amp will join WPP’s brand and design consultancy, Landor & Fitch, adding to the agency’s expertise in delivering immersive brand identities for companies. Amp has created sonic identities for brands including Mastercard, Mercedes-Benz, Kraft Heinz, Deloitte, Shell and General Motors.
The U.K. office of French music company Believe formed a partnership with underground dance music company Rinse to handle distribution and label services for its Rinse Recordings and Bad Music imprints. Under its new b:electronic global imprint, Believe will handle the global distribution for all Rinse and Bad Music frontline and catalog releases. Rinse will continue to handle day-to-day marketing for both imprints while benefitting from Believe’s audience development team across 50 countries, with a focus on audio and video plus editorial and marketing partnerships with digital service providers.
Warner Music UK and independent record label Brownswood Recordings formed a joint venture that will see WMUK “share its expertise in distribution, marketing, and promotion and give Brownswood Recordings access to a global network and a wealth of resources,” according to a press release. The first release under the deal will be Black Classical Music, the debut solo album from drummer/producer/artist Yussef Dayes, which is slated for release on September 8. Brownswood will continue to operate as an independent label, with its leadership team retaining creative control.
Credit Union 1 is the new name-in-title sponsor of the outdoor, 28,000-capacity venue formerly known as Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre at Tinley Park located in southwest Chicago. Now known as Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre, the Live Nation venue is described as the latest addition to Credit Union 1’s entertainment naming rights portfolio in the greater Chicago area.
Insomniac Music Group partnered with free creator-safe music platform Slip.stream to make its music catalog — which includes songs from over 120 artists — to be made available and claim-free via Slip.stream’s online subscription license. Through its integration with FUGA and its Licensease API technology, Slip.stream will protect Insomniac’s copyrights on YouTube while allowing creators to use the music and monetize their videos on all platforms. The Insomniac catalog is now available to Slip.stream’s Pro and Commercial subscribers, though creators can sign up free with access to the rest of the Slip.stream catalog.
ASM Global formed a partnership with London Stadium in the United Kingdom to create additional event content for the venue’s upcoming calendar while also developing new commercial opportunities. Originally built to host the London 2012 Olympic Games, London Stadium is home to the Premier League football club in West Ham United as well as U.K. Athletics. It’s the second-largest concert capacity stadium in London.
FIVE Hotels and Resorts has struck a joint venture with Warner Music Group for the Dubai-based luxury brand’s record label, FIVE Music. To kick off the partnership, FIVE Music — alongside Warner Music Central Europe, Dabruck Creative and FIVE Music’s exclusive music publishing partner, Warner Chappell Music — is in the midst of hosting a music writing camp from April 28 to May 14 at FIVE Palm Jumeirah in Dubai with artists including Robin Schulz, Space Motion, Franky Wah and Alle Farben and songwriters including KIDDO, Bully Songs and Gez O’Connell. Through the deal, FIVE Music has also committed to establishing a state-of-the-art music studio — dubbed FIVE Music Studio — at the FIVE Palm Jumeirah.
Dequency — described as “a web3-powered, decentralised marketplace for on-chain sync licensing” — partnered with artificial intelligence music tagging and recommendation engine Cyanite, which develops AI algorithms for music analysis, tagging, search and discovery to help clients including BMG, Nettwerk, UMPG Music Solutions and more unlock the full value of their repertoire. The new agreement with Cyanite “will make discovering new, original works on the Dequency platform for use in content easier than ever,” according to a press release.