Business News Deals Labels & Publishers
By Chris Cooke | Published on Wednesday 9 June 2021
Independent music firm [PIAS] has announced a new partnership with the Universal Music Group which will see the latter tap the former’s distribution network and label services expertise, while the indie will have access to the resources of the major “to further grow its global offering and strengthen its position as the leading independent services provider”.
[PIAS] – which operates a group of labels as well as a services and distribution division, the latter recently rebranded as [Integral] – is keen to stress that its new partnership with Universal does not affect its status as an independent music business. Founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot retain full control of the company.
Confirming the new partnership, Gates says: “Almost 40 years since Michel Lambot and I launched [PIAS] we are as eager and driven as we ever were and remain wholly committed to providing independent labels and artists with a platform to reach a global audience. This new, somewhat unconventional, strategic agreement with UMG will help both companies maximise the many opportunities we know are available, while not compromising our independence whatsoever”.
While Lambot adds: “I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to find an agreement with UMG based on trust and mutual appreciation. As a major and an independent, we are both leading music companies that exist to empower artists and labels. This partnership of two companies with music at the heart of their business allows us to grow in an increasingly global and competitive marketplace and to provide a world-class service to independent artists and labels with integrity and care”.
Commenting on the deal from the Universal side, the major’s boss man Lucian Grainge says: “At UMG, we understand that a vibrant independent sector is essential to a thriving music ecosystem. After all, we are a company built by – and for – entrepreneurs and today serve as an accelerator for so many independent creative voices, which is why we are delighted to provide [PIAS] the support and resources to bolster their company as a fiercely independent force in music”.
“I have known Kenny and Michel for more than 30 years and have deep respect for their passion for music as well their openness and authenticity”, he goes on. “As pioneers of the label services model, they have created enormous opportunities for independent artists and labels and established [PIAS] as a beacon of excellence in the independent community”.