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"The contract that we have structured brings more business and creative freedom to artists and managers than has ever been offered before.”
—-Adam Driscoll, MAMA Group
ATC, NETTWERK AND MAMA GROUP FORM POLYPHONIC
Three Management Groups Will Invest $20 Million in Artists, Managers
There’s a new game in town as two of U.K.’s leading management companies have teamed up with a Canadian music giant to form an investment company that proposes itself as an alternative to the traditional record label model.

MAMA Group, Nettwerk Music Group and ATC have announced the launch of Polyphonic, with a pot of $20 million in seed capital targeted for music management companies and artists.

MAMA Group’s two key divisions are live music and artist services. The company operates a number of leading U.K. venues through its Mean Fiddler Group joint venture with HMV Plc, including the Hammersmith Apollo and the Barfly chain. The artist services business is responsible for the direct management of over 40 musical artists, 60 of them via the company’s stake in Nettwerk Music Group in North America. The Group has additional interests in publishing, recording, marketing, merchandising and sponsorship.

ATC is owned by the partners of Courtyard Management, the management operation run by Brian Message, Bryce Edge, Chris Hufford and Craig Newman, which includes Radiohead and Supergrass, as well as The Boxer Rebellion, Chew Lips, Faithless, Hadouken, Kate Nash, Master Shortie and The Rifles.

Founded in August of 1984, Nettwerk Music Group is the umbrella company for Nettwerk Management and Nettwerk Records, as well as Nettwerk One, Nutone and Artwerk.  The Vancouver-based company has offices in New York, L.A., London, Boston, Nashville and Hamburg, with principal founders Terry McBride, Mark Jowett, Dan Fraser and Ric Arboit. Among its management clients are Sarah McLachlan, Jars of Clay, Stereophonics, Hope Sandoval, Guster, Brand New, Chromeo, State Radio, Martha Wainwright and Sixpence None The Richer. It also manages producers Don Was, Howard Benson, Bob Clearmountain, Chris Lord-Alge and Tom Lord-Alge. The label roster includes Old Crow Medicine Show, The Weepies, Ladytron, BT, Delerium, fun., Great Lake Swimmers, The Submarines and Datarock.

Polyphonic will partner with artists and their management, providing the capital to enable them to operate their own businesses, retain their own copyrights and take a fair share of any profits that are generated.

Through a simple partnership governed by contract, Polyphonic will supply the investment required to enable an artist to build their business beyond the constraints of traditional models, with all copyrights remaining the property of the artist. Polyphonic will earn a share of the profits generated by all revenue earned from artist activities, after recouping its original investment, mirroring the way that artist’s managers currently earn profits.

Said MAMA Group Co-CEO Adam Driscoll: “In recent times it has become apparent that there is a real barrier to artist development—and that is a lack of available investment capital. Through our SuperVision Management businesses, we have been making funds available to our clients to help them at the early stages of their careers for some time. The launch of Polyphonic will enable us to make many more such investments in both emerging artists and those further down their career path. This investment will not just apply to the artists that we manage, but also to artists that excite us who are not necessarily part of our management structure. The contract that we have structured brings more business and creative freedom to artists and managers than has ever been offered before.”

ATC/Courtyard’s Message added: “Polyphonic, an investment vehicle driven by alignment of interest rather than tax structuring or the maximising of any one particular revenue stream, is an important funding option for artists. More and more artists are directly engaging with their fans in a way that enhances that unique relationship and enables the artist to have much more say in the way in which their business is built. ATC and MAMA have co-invested in a number of new artists over the last three years and Polyphonic marks the next iteration of that business. Now, together with Nettwerk, we want to be working with a much bigger group of artists and managers and the capital we have available makes that achievable.”

Nettwerk CEO McBride said: “Over the last few years we have found new ways to enable our management clients to take more control of their careers. We launched a number of artist imprints to allow bands to take a bigger stake in their recorded music and have engaged fully with digital distribution platforms to ensure that we get their music to their fans in as many ways as possible. Polyphonic will enable us to make further strides in enabling artists and managers to build businesses that control all aspects of the artists’ career and their assets. Having shared objectives is paramount if any business in any sector is to work. That hasn’t been readily delivered by the old industry investment model… it will be through Polyphonic.”

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