Business News Live Business

MAMA founder returns with new music business

By | Published on Friday 17 October 2014

Sixth PLC

The former boss of London-based live firm MAMA is launching a new music business to be called Sixth Plc, which is seeking “key acquisitions” in the “live, data analytics and artist partnerships” domain in the UK, India and Asia Pacific.

Dean James, and his then business partner Adam Driscoll, brought together the one-time Channelfly live and management business with a big chunk of the old Mean Fiddler company and the Hammersmith Apollo to create the MAMA Group, which at its height combined venues, festivals, tour promotion, artist management, brand partnerships and music media.

MAMA, of course, was acquired by HMV in 2010, operating as the flagging retailer’s live and artists division for a time. James continued to lead the company as an HMV division, before leading a management buyout and taking the firm back into independent ownership in late 2012. Minus the Hammersmith Apollo and management business though, the former being sold off separately by HMV, the latter winding down as key managers departed during the period of insecurity that occurred as the HMV parent company faltered.

James was expected to continue leading what by that point was known as MAMA & Company, but in summer 2013 he departed. Though it was thought he would soon re-appear with a new business, making the launch of Sixth Plc not too surprising. The new company will seemingly have some similarities to pre-HMV MAMA – combining artist services with live activities, but with the international reach James was interested in pursuing at his former company.

Or in the new firm’s own words “Sixth will adopt an artist-centric approach to operating across all points of the artist-to-live value chain, using data analytics to choose the artists it works with and assets it develops”. So now you know.

James is joined at Sixth by former Shazam business affairs chief Matt McCann as COO, while Nettwerk co-founder Dan Fraser will be a non-executive director. The company is backed “one of India’s largest family conglomerates Apeejay Surrendra”, owners of Typhoo Tea in the UK no less, with Sethu Vaidynathan taking the role of Chairman.

Confirming all this, James told reporters yesterday: “I’m tremendously excited to finally be able to announce Sixth; we’re building a smart new global business and are delighted to have found a partner in Apeejay Surrendra that understands our vision – it will be interesting to watch the impact a company of its type will have as a new entrant to the music business. It’s also great to welcome back Matt McCann to the music industry – the industry will be stronger with him in it”.