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Warner Music Group Acquires UPROXX

Variety logo Variety 8/2/2018 Shirley Halperin
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Warner Music Group has acquired the web entity UPROXX, the 10-year-old online hub and video production house aimed at youth that boasts a reach of 40 million people across social media, YouTube and beyond.

UPROXX CEO and Chief Creative Benjamin Blank and co-founder and Publisher Jarret Myer will stay on, according to a release announcing the acquisition, and UPROXX will remain a “stand-alone” entity with “journalistic and creative independence.”

Said Blank: “Over the past years, we’ve won the trust of our audience, along with numerous industry accolades, because of our understanding of culture, entertainment, and marketing – an approach that’s rooted in authenticity and transparency. With Warner Music Group, we just doubled down on that formula and are now able to deliver more to our audience and partners with even more access and at much bigger scale.”

Like Universal Music’s recent deals with All Def Digital and Mass Appeal, aligning with a cultural entity that has vast video resources on a creative level is not uncommon and could lead to long-form programming on major networks or streamers as well as marketing opportunities, although an all-out acquisition of an online publisher is relatively new terrain. WMG’s stable of artists includes Charlie Puth who had previously collaborated with UPROXX, as well as Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Cardi B.

“In the always-on, attention economy, it’s not enough to simply deliver amazing music to the world. We aim to tell engaging and original stories that influence culture,” said Max Lousada, WMG’s CEO of Global Recorded Music. “UPROXX brings together pioneering personalities and credible brands in ways that move huge audiences to talk, listen and share. It’ll be exciting to collaborate with Jarret again, along with Ben and their team, who will thrive in the creative and entrepreneurial environment we’re building. They’ll be great partners as we redefine what it means to be a dynamic, future-focused music company.”

Myer and Lousada go back to Rawkus Records, a hip-hop label they ran together and that Myer co-founded in 1995.

WMG’s portfolio of investments includes concert discovery app Songkick and the UK’s The Firepit, a multi-media production studio.

UPROXX was represented by Raine in the transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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