UMG buys 49 percent share in indie giant, [PIAS]

Universal Music Group has bought a 49 percent share of Play It Again Sam [PIAS], an independent music giant responsible for distributing labels such as Warp, Ninja Tune, and Domino. The Belgian company, which was founded in 1983, will remain under the control of its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot.

The partnership between the two companies was first revealed last year as a ‘strategic alliance.’ Speaking on the partnership, Gates said, “These days we’re competing with finance and tech giants and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow.” UMG is regarded as the world’s largest music rights company.

According to Music Business Worldwide, the deal became possible after UMG’s 10 year ban on acquiring certain assets and artists was lifted in September. The ban was put in place by the European Commission following UMG’s acquisition of EMI Music in 2012. 

[PIAS] as it stands is split into two divisions, with [PIAS] Label Group handling several in-house labels and [PIAS] Distribution Services which partners with labels globally. These labels include the aforementioned, as well as Rough Trade, XL Recordings, and the Beggars Group amongst others. 

“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,” Gates continued. “This move makes us stronger and secures the future of our brand, our staff and our partners while maintaining control of our destiny.”