GEMA has acquired a majority stake in digital distribution company Zebralution.
The German collection society has become one of the first performance rights organisations in the world to buy into a streaming distributor.
The acquisition allows GEMA to expand its performance portfolio and continue to develop its digital services and technologies. Zebralution will operate as an independent business under the GEMA umbrella.
Founded in 2004, the Berlin-based company is a digital distributor for independent labels in Europe. It currently has a portfolio of more than 1,000 labels and podcast providers. Zebralution was previously part of Warner Music Group, until it was sold off to a consortium as part of the Parlophone Label Group divestments.
“By taking a stake in Zebralution, GEMA has made a targeted investment that secures its future viability,” said Dr Harald Heker, GEMA's CEO. “Through Zebralution, we will also be able to support our members in the digital distribution of their musical works. GEMA’s relevance in the digital music market will thus be significantly increased.”
“We are very pleased to have found an ideal and extremely strong partner in GEMA,” said Kurt Thielen, founder and MD of Zebralution. “This also bridges a gap for musicians and performers, with the joint objective of achieving fair remuneration for creatives.
GEMA said the move builds on its involvement in ICE.
“In Zebralution, we have the right partner at our side to expand GEMA’s digital reach and unlock new income sources for our members over the long term,” said Heker. “In future, musicians will be able to release their music to a wide range of digital music providers through GEMA and Zebralution.”
Former owners Kurt Thielen, Christof Ellinghaus, Sascha Lazimbat and Konrad von Löhneysen, will remain involved in the business as shareholders. Thielen and Lazimbat will continue as managing directors.
“GEMA has full confidence in the dynamic and professional team that has developed Zebralution into a profitable distributor of digital content with an international profile,” said. “We are looking forward to a successful collaboration.”
GEMA has more than 74,000 members, including composers, lyricists and publishers. It represents more than two million copyright owners worldwide.