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Marissa Cetin
6 December 2022, 17:21

Universal acquires 49% stake in [PIAS] independent music company

The Belgian record label services and distribution company works with more than 100 independent labels like Ninja Tune, Warp, Brainfeeder, Domino and fabric

Universal acquires 49% stake in [PIAS] independent music company

Universal Music Group has acquired a 49% stake in the independent music company [PIAS] Group. 

The music rights giant paid an undisclosed sum for the just-minority stake in the Belgian record label and distribution company, originally known as Play I Again Sam, according to Music Business Worldwide. The press statement for the partnership said, "[PIAS] will remain fully independent, and its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot will retain majority control of the company... UMG will have no seats on the company’s board".

[PIAS] Group, which is split into an in-house record division, record label partnerships cooperative and distribution services works with more than 100 independent labels including Warp, Brainfeeder, Ninja Tune, fabric, Domino, Beggars Group, Cocoon Records, InFiné, The Vinyl Factory, DFA Records, Transgressive Records and Mute Records.

"These days we are competing with finance and tech giants and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow," Gates said. “Universal made it clear that they like us, they trust us and they need us, because they can’t do what we do and they value it highly."

“Kenny and I are celebrating our company’s 40th anniversary this year, and we are still as ambitious as we were when we started out about growing our global presence and providing a world class service to the independent music community," Lambot said. 

[PIAS] and UMG's initial partnership was announced in June 2021 as a "strategic global alliance" in which UMG gained access to [PIAS]'s distribution network in exchange for resources and funding.

MBW reports that this deal comes two months after UMG's decade-long ban on acquiring any new assets in Europe expired.