Exceleration Music is an important new player in the independent sector.
The company was started by former COO of Concord Glen Barros and has since recruited executives including former Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, Concord Records chairman John Burk, and Merlin executive chairman and former director Epitaph General Dave Hansen.
Exceleration also has Amy Dietz on board as a partner. She was previously Vice President of Label and Artist Development at ADA and Managing Director of Ingrooves. Dietz said the Exceleration team “really understands the music ecosystem”.
Exceleration aims to invest in independent labels and artists, at a time when money is pouring into the industry and companies such as Hipgnosis are growing rapidly. One of the first partnerships is with Chicago blues label Alligator Records.
The company has investment funds from both founders and institutions. But Dietz stressed that he plans to work behind the scenes rather than become a leading disruptive force in the music industry.
“Our desire is for the industry to know who we are and [recognise]our level of integrity and knowledge which might be suitable for different entrepreneurs who might be looking for these options [for investment]”said Amy Dietz Music week. “One of the things we’re talking about is, for anyone who creates music or owns those rights, to give them as many options as possible to work with them however they want.
“From an external point of view, the relationship with Alligator is all about Alligator – it’s not about Exceleration Music. It’s about, how can we bring this mission forward? In the industry, however, people will know who we are.
Exceleration also overcame the challenges imposed by Covid to get the operation operational.
“It’s pretty liberating, because we’re looking to hire people and don’t necessarily care about knowing exactly where someone is,” Dietz said. “I think it gives us the opportunity to have different conversations about how we want it to look in the future. There is the innovation that comes from not necessarily proceeding in the same way as before; not necessarily having a traditional office, at least for the time being, and considering different ways of meeting. It hasn’t been a problem at all, it feels very natural.
What creates a healthy ecosystem is having true independence and other options
Diez has experience in the independent sector through partnerships with the majors of Warner Music’s ADA and Universal Music’s Ingrooves. Following Sony’s acquisition of AWAL, she stressed that artists and labels should always have the option of being 100% independent.
“I think consolidation is a natural part of doing business,” she said Music week. “[But] it is important to have a dynamic set of options. I worked for a very long time at Ingrooves and ADA for a very long time. These were companies that were certainly useful to the independent sector. So there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it’s also important to have independent companies that may not be related to anything else, to really give you that maximum of options.
“So if an artist wants to keep their rights forever and do everything in a more DIY way with their own team, instead of going into a bigger system, it’s really important to have that. I think what creates a healthy ecosystem is having real independence and other options. The most important thing is that people are in control of their own destiny.
Dietz navigated to streaming for artists and labels at ADA and Ingrooves. Exceleration starts its operation at a time when DSPs are now dominant.
“Not going into the middle of a big transition is always good,” said Dietz. “Getting a feel for what streaming looks like today, how some of those relationships are and getting a feel for what’s going on, there’s a benefit to that.
“I think everything will continue to transform a bit. What you did three months ago isn’t necessarily what you’re going to do three months from now, as several things testify – not just streaming. We’re just in a constant state of evolution and change, and that’s probably the thing that matters most to us. You just need to be really nimble, with flexibility and a willingness to let different strategies emerge and not get too rigid in your thinking.
Subscribers can click here to read our Music Week Q&A with Amy Dietz.
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