Music

The Deals: BMG Acquires ‘What Is Love’ Singer’s Catalog, Coachella Strikes NFT Collab With OpenSea

BMG acquired the catalog of Cologne, Germany-based record label Coconut Music. The deal includes the recorded rights of singer Haddaway, whose 1993 single, “What Is Love,” became a massive global hit and reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The deal gives BMG 100% control of the track, which was also sampled in Eminem‘s 2010 hit “No Love” featuring Lil Wayne. The song was also covered in 2023 by David Guetta, Anne-Marie and Coi Leray as “Baby Don’t Hurt Me.” Additionally, it was a cornerstone of the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch “Roxbury Guys” and its 1998 film adaptation, A Night at the Roxbury.

The acquisition also includes tracks by Bad Boys Blue, London Beat and Wolfgang Petry. Coconut Music was founded in 1981 by Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik.


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The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival announced a partnership with NFT marketplace OpenSea to launch Coachella Keepsakes, a series of three collections that will serve as an “all-access pass” to some of the festival’s exclusive experiences and products, according to a press release. Using the Avalanche blockchain network, each of the collections will pair collectible Coachella IP artwork with real-world benefits, including exclusive access to areas including the VIP Rose Garden and Oasis Lounge as well as limited edition Coachella merchandise, VIP passes and more. The first release in the series, dubbed the VIP Pass + Oasis Lounge Keepsake, was released on Mar. 5; it provides owners with a 2024 VIP festival pass and the new Oasis Lounge. The second release in the series, the Canvas Welcome Box Keepsake (available Mar. 25), will offer access to unique merchandise, digital content, access to the Rose Garden and more; that one will be available starting Mar. 25. The third and final drop will include an artist collaboration, with details to be revealed in late March.

A consortium led by the Persianas Group and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority — an independent investment institution of the Nigerian federation — is partnering with Oak View Group and Live Nation on a proposed 12,000-capacity arena in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Other partners on the $100 million project include Tunde Folawiyo, managing director of the Yinka Folawiyo Group; Nigerian investment fund Adino Capital; and MBO Capital. Upon completion, the venue will become the first dedicated arena in Nigeria. It is expected to create more than 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.

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Warner Music Group (WMG) expanded its agreement with Tips Industries Limited (Tips Music), one of India’s leading music labels. WMG has been exclusively distributing Tips Music’s catalog since 2020. Under the new agreement, WMG will spearhead the commercial and distribution responsibilities for all of Tips Music’s frontline and catalog music, spanning 23 Indian languages and more than 30,000 songs. Tips owns the “lion’s share” of Bollywood film soundtracks from the 1990s, according to a press release.

The U.K. office of Believe signed a long-term, global label solutions deal with indie label Bella Union that encompasses new Bella Union releases and select catalog. In addition to all-format physical and digital distribution, Believe will provide services including synchronization; digital service provider and retail editorial and marketing partnerships; strategic release management; unique digital expertise and in-house technology; video and audience development; and ongoing advance funding. Bella Union’s current roster includes Beach House, Father John Misty and Ezra Furman.

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Hook, a music platform that allows fans to legally remix popular songs to use on social media, extended its seed round, bringing on additional investments from Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown‘s Imaginary Ventures in addition to a group of strategic music and social media industry investors and advisors. The new investment brings the company’s total seed round to $3.5 million, adding to the original funding led by Point72 Ventures and Edgar Bronfman Jr.‘s Waverley Capital.

Live Nation was selected as the operator and booker for The Sunset, a forthcoming $93 million, 12,500-capacity outdoor music amphitheater from developer Notes Live to be built in Broken Arrow, Okla. Construction is slated to begin this spring, with the amphitheater expected to open in time for “touring season” in 2025, according to a press release. The venue is being developed via a public-private partnership between the city and Notes Live.

Collaborative music creation platform BeatConnect secured $2.25 million CAD ($1.67 million) in funding ahead of its relaunch. The round was supported by music and tech investors including Sfermion, FICC, Anges Québec and Triptyq Capital. The relaunch, slated for the spring, will amount to an overhaul of BeatConnect’s multiplayer Digital Audio Workstation (mDAW) that will incorporate gaming elements into its music production capabilities.

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ADA and Warner Music Australia signed a global distribution deal with Americana label Cheatin’ Hearts Records, which is home to Australian country, folk and blues music. Founded by Luke Woods and Aaron Curnow, the label has put out albums by Henry Wagons, Melody Moko, Watty Thompson and more. The first music to be released under the deal is from Tasmanian singer-songwriter Claire Anne Taylor.

Independent digital distributor and artist and label services company IDOL has signed new deals with Le Plan Recordings and Old Soul Music. IDOL expanded its deal with New York-based Le Plan to provide global digital distribution and marketing for all of its catalog and frontline titles along with physical distribution for new releases. Its deal with North Carolina-based Old Soul, recently launched by Austin Hart (a.k.a. producer L’Orange), encompasses global distribution and marketing.

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