Former Apple Music global creative director Larry Jackson has unveiled his highly-anticipated music and technology company Gamma.
Gamma is described as a “modern media and music company created to revolutionise the way artists create, distribute, and monetise their content and brand”.
The first notable element of this start-up, which is based in LA and has offices in New York and London, is the scale of its financial backing as it enters the music industry. Founded by Larry Jackson and veteran music exec Ike Youssef, it has financial backing from Eldridge, Apple and A24 reported to be worth $1 billion based on available capital, including equity and debt, according to Bloomberg.
For the UK music industry, there’s also news of the return of Ben Cook to a senior role. Cook exited Atlantic in 2019 after it emerged he had been disciplined by Warner Music over an incident in which he had dressed up as a member of Run DMC several years earlier. Cook, who had been Atlantic UK president since 2014, issued a statement at the time acknowledging that “my appearance was offensive and I made a terrible mistake”
“I am devastated that this mistake has caused upset and has called into question my commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, values which I have championed throughout my career,” he said in 2019. “I have learned a great deal from this event and will resolutely continue to champion these values moving forward.”
Today it has emerged that Cook has been appointed president of UK & Europe at Gamma.
Other appointments include former Apple execs Scott Seviour (chief marketing officer) and Nathalie Besharat (EVP of content operations), as well as A&R Breyon Prescott (EVP of content and music) and Roy LaManna (chief technology and product officer). LaManna was co-founder and CEO of rights management and distribution platform Vydia, which was acquired late last year by Gamma.
As it prepares to shake up the music industry, Gamma outlined its “distinct but connected business segments”: recorded music, visual content, media, creative agency, and direct-to-consumer products. Its capabilities revolve around content creation, content distribution and “development of the artist-centred business enterprise”.
Gamma has already established partnerships with Snoop Dogg and the Death Row catalogue, Rick Ross, Naomi Campbell and The Shade Room.
Gamma is built with the flexibility and aptitude that creators need to connect with fans on all formats and across all channels – with transparency and no restriction
“The power of intellectual property and creative expression cannot be contained to any one format,” said Larry Jackson. “The artists shaping today’s culture not only create music, but also video, film, podcasts, fashion, and more. They shouldn’t have to jump through multiple hoops to express themselves. Gamma is built with the flexibility and aptitude that creators need to connect with fans on all formats and across all channels – with transparency and no restriction.
“We are a progressive media company powered by the best-in-class content distribution and analytics software by way of our Vydia acquisition. And central to its core, Gamma is an ideas company.”
Apple has previously launched its own artist distribution and creative services company, Platoon. The investment in Gamma represents a major step for the streaming giant in terms of playing a role in funding repertoire.
“We’re excited to see Larry's vision come to life with Gamma,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music. “We’re always looking for new ways to support creators, and we can’t wait to see what talent across music, video, podcasts, and more [they] dream up.”
“Larry and Ike’s idea for Gamma centres on service to the artist,” said Todd Boehly, chairman and CEO of Eldridge. “We are excited to partner with them, Apple, and A24 to build a platform that helps artists deliver exceptional content with fans, and grow the enterprise value of their own brands.”
“We couldn’t think of better partners to enter into the world of music with and are thrilled by the collective commitment to supporting both emerging and established artists of the highest calibre,” said studio A24.
In terms of content creation, Gamma said in a statement: “Whether the artist is interested in recording and distributing an album, composing new music, producing short or long-form visual content, developing a podcast, or launching a consumer products business, Gamma supports its creators with the means and resources to execute their vision.”
The company will also collaborate with Eldridge on the growth and development of its music copyrights.
In a statement, the company said it struck the Vydia deal to “provide content creators with the unfettered ability to publish and distribute audio-visual content on a global basis. Based on cutting-edge music technology and infrastructure, Vydia provides its creators with rights management services, advanced payments, transparent and automated royalty accounting, and daily performance analytics to help amplify the artist’s reach.”
Fred Davis and Raine Group served as financial advisor to Gamma.