Italy’s Artist First acquires 51% stake in digital media agency Officine Orange

Italian distribution company and record label Artist First has acquired a 51% stake in Milan-based digital agency Officine Orange.

Today’s news follows the firm’s recently announced purchase of a 30% shareholding in live booking agency Colorsound.

Founded in 2010 by Alessandro Fabozzi and Diego Jirillo, Officine Orange specializes in offering products and services for companies in the digital marketplace including web development, web marketing, social media management and online advertising.

The company counts Samsung, Mercedes-Benz and Adidas alongside other major brands among its existing clients .

This new partnership is being launched with an initiative called ‘Fankey’, a fan-focused platform currently in beta testing, offering direct-to-fan e-commerce. Fankey lets artists engage with their fans and generat revenues using a digitized reward system.

Artist First says that the platform is already endorsed by a number of high profile Italian artists such as Francesco Gabbani.

Fankey is described a Progressive Web App (PWA), a website that works like an app. Artist First says that PWAs “are mobile-first, responsive, fast and secure”.

Artist First was launched by Claudio Ferrante in 2009 and has 50 employees in Milan with offices in London, overseen by respected industry veteran Charlie Rapino.

The company works with numerous successful Italian artists alongside a number of high-profile international acts. Artist First also distributes a wide range of labels and has in its own roster, which includes Gazzelle, Fulminacci, Alfa, Dardust and Zero Assoluto among others.

The company also has a significant shareholding in 432 Srl, the management company led by Alessandro Fabozzi that represents Italian artists Le Vibrazioni, Francesco Gabbani Mace, Dolcenera and Irama.

“Our new partnership is much more than just an acquisition. It is more about collaboration and the contribution and creativity that Diego and Officine Orange can bring to the A1 group.”

Claudio Ferrante, Artist First

Claudio Ferrante, founder and CEO of Artist First said: “Although we, alongside many others, have experienced tough times over the last year or so it has not compromised our vision.

“We are and will always be a people business – we believe in people. So, when my new business partner Alessandro Fabozzi introduced me to Diego Jirillo, his partner in Officine Orange, I instantly believed in him.

“His clarity of thought and ambition as an entrepreneur is amazing, and frankly, if I had to I would have bought a soda vending machine company just to be in business with him.

Added Ferante: “Our new partnership is much more than just an acquisition. We don’t do that. It is more about collaboration and the contribution and creativity that Diego and Officine Orange can bring to the A1 group.

“Fankey is a platform in which we strongly believe – because it represents innovation in its purest form.

“It is an evolution of the fan club concept, which harnesses new digital technologies and the growing need for contact and interaction between artists and fans. It is the perfect project to launch this new partnership.”Music Business Worldwide