Armada Music Launches Dance-Centric Catalog Fund BEAT – Billboard

Independent dance music label Armada Music said on Thursday it acquired the master recording rights of Detroit techno forefather Kevin Saunderson‘s KMS Records and Russian DJ ARTY to launch its new music investment fund focused on dance music.

The fund named BEAT–which stands for Best Ever Acquired Tracks–launches with $100 million in debt and financing from Pinnacle Financial Partners, which Armada says will be deployed over the next two years.

Launching into the redhot music IP investment market, Armada’s BEAT aims to capitalize on investments in a genre that has so far gotten less attention than others, like pop and classic rock.

A growing number of funds have launched in the past 18-months focused on genres like indie, Latin music and production music, aiming to use in-house expertise on a specific genre to find ways to make catalogs generate greater returns for the artists and rights holders.

“BEAT is in a unique position to add relevance to those tracks through creative additions, best practices in exploitation setup, and marketing methods and communication channels within the bigger (Armada) organization,” says Armada Music chief executive Maykel Piron.

BEAT says it is focused on acquiring catalogs that fall under the category of dance, including subgenres like techno, house, electronic dance music (EDM) and others. EDM alone is estimated to present a $9.5 billion market opportunity, growing to more than $20 billion in the next decade, according to a report by research firm Future Market Insights.

“We are seeing folks who are trying to be smarter, and one way to do that is to arbitrage certain genres,” says Matt Rosenberg, head of media finance at Monroe Capital. “It unlocks the investment ecosystem for more artists.”

Attached to Armada, BEAT will tap into the genre’s leading record label for “data on trends, creative resources, exploitation models (and) new artists,” Piron says.

“We are in a unique position in that we know everything on older catalogs since we have built one over the last 20 years through Armada,” Piron says. Armada has acquired catalogs from artists and dance labels, including Midtown Records, United Recordings and Combined Forces. “BEAT has 100% control over the exploitation and re-exploitation of the acquired catalogs.”

Saunderson made his name with a string of eight Top 10s between 1988-94, including “Good Life,” “Big Fun,” “Ain’t Nobody Better” and “Do You Love What You Feel” and others. The catalog of KMS, which Saunderson helped found over 30 years ago, includes Saunderson’s “Good Life” and “Big Fun,” recorded with Inner City.

“In the post-COVID period, we are seeing a huge revival of 90’s dance. Sometimes younger audiences don’t even realize they are dancing to 30-year-old tracks,” Piron says.  

With a catalog of newer hits, ARTY is known for dance tracks “Sunrise,” “Save Me Tonight,” “Craving” and “Take Your Time” from between 2018 and 2021. Based in Los Angeles, ARTY has also produced and remixed songs for Skrillex, Armin van Buuren, Halsey and others.

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