GEMA Acquires a Majority Stake In Digital Distributor Zebralution

GEMA Acquires a Majority Stake In Digital Distributor Zebralution

In an unusual move, the German rights collection agency GEMA has acquired a majority interest in Zebralution, which is a digital distribution company.

Currently, GEMA has nearly 75,000 members, which includes composers, lyricists and publishers. It further represents over two million copyright holders across the world. In 2018, the organization generated revenues in excess €1 billion ($1.1 billion), which was down slightly from the prior year. From this revenue, they distributed €859.5 million ($951.9 million) to its members.

Zebralution was founded in Berlin back in 2004. It acts as a digital distributor for over 1,000 independent labels across Europe as well as audio book publishers and podcast providers. The company, which had once been part Warner Music before it was sold in 2017, is expected to operate as an independent business after the completion the acquisition.

Kurt Thielen and Sascha Lazimbat, who are not only the managing directors the company but also significant shareholders, will continue in their current positions.

The other owners the company, which include Christ Ellinghaus and Konrad von Löhneysen, will continue to be involved in the company as well.

GEMA said that it believes that the acquisition will strengthen its position in the growing digital market for music, podcasts and audio books.

Dr. Harald Heker, who is the CEO GEMA, said the acquisition: “By taking a stake in Zebralution, GEMA has made a targeted investment that secures its future bility. Through Zebralution, we will also be able to support our members in the digital distribution their musical works. GEMA’s relevance in the digital music market will thus be significantly increased.”

Thielen also commented on the acquisition. He said, “We are very pleased to have found an ideal and extremely strong partner in GEMA. This also bridges a gap for musicians and performers, with the joint objective achieving fair remuneration for creatives.”

The terms the deal were not announced.