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Label News (more headlines) 04-17-2017

Zebralution Becomes An Independent Again

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Effective April 1, 2017, Warner Music Central Europe will sell digital distribution company Zebralution GmbH to a consortium of experienced music industry executives consisting of City Slang boss Christof Ellinghaus, owner of label Embassy of Music Konrad von Loehneysen as well as the original founders of Zebralution, Kurt Thielen and Sascha Lazimbat.

The transaction takes place roughly ten years after the acquisition of Zebralution by Warner Music Group and is part of the divestment package which Warner Music Group promised to make available to the independent sector pursuant to its agreement with European indie music association IMPALA and the independent's digital network Merlin in December 2012.

During its ten years within Warner Music Group, Zebralution's team under the leadership of founder and managing director Kurt Thielen was not only able to continuously grow revenues from the distribution of its labels' music catalogues to download and streaming services worldwide, but has also built a strong and booming business segment distributing audio books and audio plays. Warner Music Central Europe Chairman & CEO Bernd Dopp therefore comments: "We have had a fantastic ten years working with Zebralution, a company that has given us a special insight into the indie world. We're delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with Zebralution in the future and wish its management all the luck in the world as they take the company forward on the next stage of its journey."

Christof Ellinghaus says: "We look forward to start the process of turning this great company that Kurt and Sascha built into a real independent again. We're thrilled for Zebralution to join Merlin right away and become a part of the vital and thriving independent music landscape. We want to be nothing but one of the best distributors in the world for independent labels."

Konrad von Loehneysen views the transaction as follows: "I will continue to work with Warner Music as far as physical distribution of my label Embassy of Music is concerned. In addition to my role as managing director of EoM, I will act as Vice President of Music at Zebralution and contribute both my network and my knowledge of the day-to-day challenges for independent labels to allow Zebralution to offer best-in-class service for its distribution partners. In 2017, we live in a streaming world, and our challenge is to be the best partner for this world."

Kurt Thielen summarizes "We thank Bernd Dopp, Andreas Klöpfel and the entire team at Warner Music not only for the fantastic support and the freedom that has allowed us to combine the best of both worlds - major and indie - during the last ten years, but also for the chance that this new phase represents for Zebralution. Our entire staff and the new shareholders are highly motivated to take off big time with Zebralution 3.0."

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