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The Deals: WMG Partners on Digital Collectibles Platform; Music Bigwigs Sign Franchise Agreement With Bojangles

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Warner Music Group signed a multi-year partnership with blockchain companies LGND.io and Polygon Companies to launch LGND Music, a new collaborative project set to debut in January 2023. Through the partnership, select WMG artists will launch digital collectibles on LGND Music’s app and desktop platform, which will be built on Polygon, a blockchain development network. WMG’s Spinnin’ Records is one of the first label collaborations under the deal.

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The Bojangles restaurant franchise signed a franchise development agreement with Melanbo, a group partly owned by music execs Mel Carter and Kevin “Coach K” Lee. Melanbo will develop 14 new Bojangles locations in greater Atlanta, building upon their acquisition of 18 existing Bojangles restaurants in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina — making Melanbo the largest Black-controlled Bojangles franchise. In the music sphere, Carter recently signed a joint venture deal with Warner Music for his label, Second Estate Records. Lee currently serves as COO at Quality Control Music, which he co-founded in 2013.

UMG-owned rock label Spinefarm Records (Bullet for My Valentine, Atreyu, Killing Joke) joins the [PIAS] Group‘s roster, effective Jan. 1; Spinefarm will be distributed on a global basis through the [PIAS] services division [Integral]. The deal marks the first significant repertoire partnership following UMG’s purchase of a 49% stake in [PIAS] last month. Spinefarm will continue to operate as a standalone label from its New York headquarters under the leadership of GM Jonas Nachsin. Existing Spinefarm teams across the world will continue to handle all A&R, marketing and promotion activities for the label.

TSX Entertainment — owner of a 74,000 square foot space in New York that includes recording studios, a supper club, galleries, restaurants, bars, rooftop terraces and immersive experiences integrated with the TSX Metaverse — signed a long-term partnership with Roc Nation. Under the deal, the companies will collaborate on tentpole performances and annual events out of the TSX space — which also includes a massive digital billboard connected to the TSX app — spanning music, fashion, film, sports, gaming and lifestyle.

Warner Music Group’s WMX is launching three FAST channels exclusively on The Roku Channel: WMX Pop, XMW Rock and WMX Hip-Hop. All three will feature music videos and concerts from WMG’s global catalog, as well as original programming from WMG media brands including UPROXX, HipHopDX, Songkick, Cover Nation, The Pit and Lasso Nation.

Warner Music India (WMI) signed popular Indian singer King. The label recently released King’s third studio album, Champagne Talk.

Connect Music, which provides distribution and publishing administration services, acquired London-based artist and label services provider MTX Music. Connect co-founder Askia Fountain will lead MTX Music’s operations as managing director, focusing its services on the hip-hop and R&B community in the U.K. Under the agreement, Connect is granting MTX Music access to its $10 million credit facility (backed by Preserver Partners) to support the development of emerging U.K. talent, with up to $1 million available per artist. Fountain will look to grow MTX Music’s A&R and marketing teams over the coming months. MTX Music’s roster includes Judith Owen, Lost Society and Jonathan Antoine.

Downtown Music Services signed several new artists out of Los Angeles: Colbie Caillat, Francis Karel, Lily Meola, Loren Gray, Rebecca Black and Yung Bae. All will utilize Downtown’s suite of services including global distribution, creative marketing and synch licensing.

B2B distributor FUGA partnered with U.S. indie label Polyvinyl Record Co. (Alvvays, of Montreal, American Football). Through the deal, Polyvinyl will utilize FUGA’s suite of distribution and marketing services. Polyvinyl is also entering a partnership with Downtown Neighbouring Rights, a recently-launched division of Downtown Music that brings Downtown Music Services,
Downtown Neighbouring Rights and FUGA together into a single offering that aligns, tech solutions, label & artist services and distribution.

Merlin signed two new partnerships: one with Supernatural, a VR fitness app for Meta Quest headsets, and the second with STYNGR, a B2B technology platform that offers a turnkey music licensing solution for video games and the metaverse. Under the deals, both Supernatural and STYNGR will be provided with music released by Merlin members.

NOFX founding member Fat Mike launched a new record label, Bottles To The Ground. According to a press release, the label will serve as a “halfway house” for Fat Mike’s new band, Codefendants, and a home for British punk duo The Meffs and Melvinator, the EDM project from NOFX’s Eric Melvin. The label, a collective owned by all members of NOFX, is an imprint of Fat Wreck Chords and will house bands that don’t fit the traditional Fat sound.

Indie label Dirty Hit (The 1975, Wolf Alice, Rina Sawayama) extended its worldwide distribution deal with Ingrooves Music Group.

British-Nigerian rapper, MC, producer and label owner Skepta signed with Los Angeles-based Wasserman Music agent Brent Smith for global representation. Skepta launched his own label and creative agency, Big Smoke, in October.

Session, the developer behind music collaboration app Session Studio, signed a one-year partnership with Brazil’s largest collection society, the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). Under the deal, Session will offer UBC members free access to the Session Studio app, which allows creators to capture song and recording data at the point of creation and deliver it downstream to managers, labels, publishers, CMOs and digital service providers while ensuring all participants are properly credited.

B2B streaming company Tuned Global announced two MedTech clients, MediMusic and Nue Life Health, who will use Tuned’s music APIs to provide streaming music to patients in a variety of settings. MediMusic customizes therapeutic playlists for patients to reduce resting heart rate, anxiety and stress responses via biofeedback and machine learning. Nue Life Health offers ketamine therapy to people with PTSD and treatment-resistant depression; music is one component of an app-supported therapeutic experience that guides Nue Life patients through the ketamine sessions. Tuned Global will provide the companies with metadata, music content and streaming service functionality.

Oliver Sim, Romy and Jamie xx — collectively The xx — signed with Huxley‘s brand partnerships division. The company will represent the members of the band and support on-brand relationships for their individual and creative projects. Also signing with the division is Alastair McKimm — creative director, design consultant, i-D editor-in-chief and founder of creative agency MCKIMMCORP.

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The Weeknd Unveils ‘Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)’ Off ‘Avatar’ Soundtrack

Avatar: The Way of Water is finally hitting theaters on Friday (Dec. 16), and a day before the release, The Weeknd dropped his cinematic contribution to the soundtrack, “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength).” “I thought I could protect you from paying for my sins/ You give me strength/ I would do either way/ Nothing’s lost/ No more pain, just you,” he sings on the Swedish House Mafia-produced track, […]

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