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The Deals: Drake’s OVO Sound Heads to Santa Anna for Distribution; WMG Strikes A&R Deal in Pakistan

Todd Moscowitz‘s Santa Anna Label Group has invested in and partnered with OVO Sound, the Canadian record label founded in 2012 by Drake, Noah “40” Shehib and Oliver El-Khatib. Under the deal, Santa Anna will distribute and market OVO Sound releases while providing additional A&R support, production, finance and accounting, artist and label services, and more. OVO Sound’s current roster includes PARTYNEXTDOOR (slated to release his new album, P4, in the first quarter of 2024), Majid Jordan, Naomi Sharon, Roy Woody, Smiley, Popcaan and Drake collaborations with artists including Bad Bunny, Central Cee, Blocboy JB and Dave. OVO will remain a standalone record label as part of the agreement.

Warner Music Group (WMG) has partnered with Pakistani music and audio production company Giraffe, which was co-founded by artist Xulfi (rela name Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan) and CEO Muhammad Ibrahim. The deal, which allows WMG to establish a new A&R source in Pakistan, will kick off with Coke Studio Season 15. In addition to Coke Studio, Giraffe has produced some of the most popular music shows in South Asia, including Drummers of Pakistan, Nescafé Basement and Red Bull Music Sound Clash. “Pakistan has a rich music scene that offers huge opportunities for a global music company,” said Alfonso Perez Soto, president of emerging markets at WMG, in a statement. “Through the powerhouse that is Coke Studio, Xulfi and Ibrahim have proven to be phenomenal A&Rs that will be invaluable in Warner Music’s growth in the region. Together, we will discover and develop artists that have the potential to connect with fans all around the world.”

PPL, which licenses the use of recorded music for public performance and broadcast in the United Kingdom and collects neighboring rights royalties for performers and recording rightsholders globally, has signed a deal with the Indian Singers’ and Musicians’ Rights Association (ISAMRA). Under the deal, PPL will now collect royalties on behalf of mandated performers in India, while Indian performers will also receive payment for the use of their recorded music in the United Kingdom.

Kids’ music brand KIDZ BOP and Live Nation extended their partnership via a new three-year North American tour deal. KIDZ BOP is currently ramping up for its KIDZ BOP LIVE 2024 tour, which is slated to kick off June 27 in Stamford, Connecticut.

France-based streaming service Deezer has renewed its longstanding partnership with TIM, the largest mobile carrier in Brazil. Under the agreement, TIM customers will continue to receive access to Deezer.

Uber has taken naming rights for two AEG venues in Berlin: Uber Arena (formerly Mercedes-Benz Arena) and Uber Eats Music Hall (formerly Verti Music Hall). It also has naming rights to an adjacent complex encompassing a movie theater, restaurants and bowling alley that will now be known as Uber Platz (formerly Mercedes Platz). AEG’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz will continue, with the brand remaining a partner of the Uber Arena in a more general role.

Lyric licensing and data solutions company LyricFind and business-to-business music and streaming technology platform Tuned Global have signed a partnership that will allow Tuned Global clients to enroll with LyricFind to unlock lyric-based tools through APIs or turnkey apps. These tools include the ability to display lyrics in multiple languages; use lyrics to search catalogs to create thematic playlists or other content; and utilize LyricIQ, a content analysis engine that allows curators to filter lyrics and tracks by mood, subject matter and age appropriateness.

AI-powered marketing operating system SymphonyOS has partnered with CD Baby in a deal that will enable CD Baby artists to access SymphonyOS tools. Those tools include Forever Saves, which allows fans to subscribe to a creator’s releases, meaning all new music from the creator is automatically added to fans’ music libraries on release; and discounted access to SymphonyOS Pro via CD Baby’s tools & promotions page.

Music venue and hospitality company Notes Live has selected Live Nation as the operator of its Sunset Amphitheater, a new 12,500-capacity venue set to open in Broken Arrow, Okla., through a public-private partnership. The amphitheater is slated to open in summer 2025.

Latin American media solutions company US Media has signed an advertising sales partnership with Vevo. Under the deal, US Media will become the Latin American sales representative for Vevo’s ad inventory in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru. US Media will sell on Vevo’s behalf pan-regionally from Miami.

Barbadian copyright collective membership organization COSCAP (Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has signed a partnership deal with CMRRA (The Canadian Musical Reproductin Rights Agency) and SX Works Global Publisher Services, which are both SoundExchange companies. Under the agreement, CMRRA will oversee the mechanical reproduction rights of COSCAP members across the Canadian marketplace, while SX Works Global Publisher Services will help manage the end-to-end administration on behalf of COSCAP members with the Mechanical Licensing Collective (the MLC) in the United States.

London-based Web3 music startup TRAX, described as a content aggregator and social marketplace helping artists build a digital space for superfans, raised a $2.9 million decentralized funding round on the Internet Computer ($ICP) blockchain. Following the investment, TRAX will operate as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) democratically controlled by holders of TRAX’s new governance token, $TRAX. The funds will be held in TRAX DAO’s treasury, which will allow $TRAX holders to decide how best to use them.

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