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Exceleration Invests in the Future of Independent Music

Five of the independent music industry’s most influential executives have come together in a new venture.

Exceleration Invests in the Future of Independent Music

Five of the independent music industry's most influential executives have come together in a new venture aimed at enhancing the future of independent labels and artists. Started by Glen Barros (former CEO of Concord Music Group), Exceleration Music has developed into a partnership of global music industry leaders who invest in the future of independents from a wide range of culturally important genres. In addition to Barros, Exceleration is led by Dave Hansen (Executive Chairman of Merlin, the digital licensing partner for independents, and previous GM of Epitaph Records), Charles Caldas (the first CEO of Merlin), Amy Dietz (previously GM of independent music distribution leader Ingrooves) and John Burk (GRAMMY-winning producer and former President of Concord Records).

Backed by substantial investment capital and based on its core founding values of integrity, fairness, openness, humility and excellence, Exceleration plans to leverage its partners' extensive expertise and deep understanding of the independent music culture to make tailored investments in independent music rights and the individuals that create them. In doing so, Exceleration will offer personalized solutions to entrepreneurs seeking capital to achieve growth as well as those trying to achieve liquidity or an honorable exit which preserves and enhances the legacies of both the entrepreneurs and their artists alike.

"We believe in and are devoted to investing in independent music," comments Barros, "and, with this team, we are well-positioned to deliver a complete package of financial, operational and strategic value to our investment partners, all of which comes with great reverence for the music they've created and the brands they've built."

As a key step in implementing its strategy, Exceleration has announced its investment in the legendary independent blues and roots label, Alligator Records, as well as a partnership with its founder, Bruce Iglauer, who will continue at the helm of the label as he has been for the last 50 years. Iglauer and his Chicago-based team will continue to handle A&R, artist signings, new release production, project marketing, publicity, and promotion for an aggressive lineup of new recordings by the label's existing roster as well as those by newly-signed artists, while Exceleration handles financial, operational, and administrative functions for the label. Both partners will also collaborate on marketing initiatives designed to build upon the label's great legacy.

With Alligator's addition to the Exceleration family, it joins Candid Records, the venerable jazz label acquired by Exceleration at the beginning of 2020. While Candid was essentially a dormant label when acquired, Exceleration has plans to relaunch the label later in 2021 with a full slate of new releases and special catalog re-issues from Candid's storied past.

In addition to its plans for Alligator and Candid, Exceleration has also entered into an alliance with The Ray Charles Foundation by which they will jointly issue special releases from the Ray Charles vaults, most of which have not been widely available on digital music services for the past decade.

In summing up how Exceleration has come together, Glen Barros states "When I started the company, I decided to go with a 'first who, then what' strategy. With our industry becoming more and more commoditized, I wanted to put people first - people who care about independent music and share similar values. Quite frankly, I am completely amazed and truly blessed by how this strategy has developed. To have partners like John, Amy, Charles, and Dave is truly a dream come true. But it goes beyond this, to the great investors we're working with, the team we're assembling, our professional advisors, and now the opportunity to work with Bruce Iglauer at Alligator and Valerie Ervin at the Ray Charles Foundation. With a dedicated group like this, I know we're going to do great things for the indie community and have a lot of fun along the way."


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