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Utopia buys Absolute Label Services

By | Published on Friday 25 February 2022

Absolute Label Services

Utopia’s acquisition spree continues with its latest purchase being Absolute Label Services, which will join the Proper Music Group as part of the start-up’s music distribution division.

It’s the third of three significant acquisitions of UK-based independent music companies in just over a month. Having bought some smaller data, analytics and financing companies last year, Utopia’s first major purchase was confirmed last month in the form of the Proper Music Group, best known for its physical distribution business. Then earlier this month Utopia bought Sentric Music, bringing a significant music publishing and rights administration operation into the fold.

Absolute Label Services is another significant purchase. It provides an assortment of services for artists and labels around their releases and catalogues, including digital distribution, marketing and sync pitching, as well as other tools for managing and monitoring release campaigns. It also has a unit managing so called neighbouring rights – the monies that flow into artists and labels through the collective licensing system when recorded music is broadcast or played in public.

Utopia said yesterday that – with both Proper and Absolute now part of its business – its distribution division can offer artists and labels a wide range of services, including digital distribution, digital retail marketing, other marketing and promotions, reporting and budgeting, physical distribution and sales, manufacturing, real-time analytics, synchronisation, and digital health checks.

As part of the deal, Absolute’s co-owners and joint Managing Directors – Henry Semmence and Simon Wills – will both become a VP of Distribution Services at Utopia, working alongside Proper boss Drew Hill, who is VP Physical Distribution.

All three report into Utopia’s Chief Operating Officer Roberto Neri, who says of the new deal: “We are delighted to announce our acquisition of Absolute, which further strengthens our position as partners of the industry. Absolute has an impeccable track record and it’s our honour to welcome their team to the Utopia family and increase our offering for artists, record labels, and distributors”.

“Simon and Henry have a strong reputation as industry leaders and partners”, he goes on. “By working in tandem we can enhance and supercharge our Utopia distribution offering delivering ‘fair pay for every play’ for creators and rights holders”.

Confirming the deal from their side, Semmence and Wills add: “At Absolute we pride ourselves on being the most trusted partner for labels. By joining the Utopia family, we can provide our clients with an array of new services and exponentially increase their business. It is no secret that the music industry has a data gap. We are proud to be part of a company that wants to make a difference within the industry and help it grow”.

With three significant acquisitions in just over a month, there’s now plenty of speculation as to what Utopia will buy next, with deals that would bring DIY distribution, digital marketing, direct-to-fan or even artist management expertise into the fold all possibilities.