Warner Music Central Europe is to sell its Zebralution digital distribution operation to a consortium of industry executives, including its original founders.
The consortium is comprised of experienced music industry executives including City Slang boss Christof Ellinghaus, owner of the Embassy of Music label Konrad von Loehneysen, as well as Zebralution founders Kurt Thielen and Sascha Lazimbat.
Warner Music Group acquired Zebralution 10 years ago. During that time, Zebralution consistenetly grew revenues from the distribution of its labels´ music catalogues to download and streaming services around the world. It has also ventured into the business of distributing audio books and audio plays.
Warner Music Central Europe chairman and CEO, Bernd Dopp, said: “We have had a fantastic ten years working with Zebralution, a company that has given us a special insight into the indie world. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with Zebralution in the future and wish its management all the luck in the world as they take the company forward on the next stage of its journey.”
Ellinghaus added: “We look forward to start the process of turning this great company that Kurt and Sascha built into a real independent again. We’re thrilled for Zebralution to join Merlin right away and become a part of the vital and thriving independent music landscape. We want to be nothing but one of the best distributors in the world for independent labels.”
“I will continue to work with Warner Music as far as physical distribution of my label Embassy of Music is concerned,” said von Loehneysen. “In addition to my role as managing director of EoM, I will act as vice president of Music at Zebralution and contribute both my network and my knowledge of the day-to-day challenges for independent labels to allow Zebralution to offer best-in-class service for its distribution partners. In 2017, we live in a streaming world, and our challenge is to be the best partner for this world.”
Thielen concluded: “We thank Bernd Dopp, Andreas Klöpfel and the entire team at Warner Music not only for the fantastic support and the freedom that has allowed us to combine the best of both worlds - major and indie - during the last ten years, but also for the chance that this new phase represents for Zebralution. Our entire staff and the new shareholders are highly motivated to take off big time with Zebralution 3.0.“