Italy’s Artist First to launch €2m ‘mini-bond’ raise as part of ‘extensive acquisition and growth strategy’

The trend for ‘new money’ rolling into the music business is showing no signs of slowing down: witness Warner Music Group launching a $650m fund backed by Providence Equity on Tuesday (December 10).

It’s not only happening on a global scale, but in individual territories too: today, we learn that Italian distribution company and record label Artist First has announced plans to launch a €2m ($2.2m) ‘mini-bond’ raise as part of ‘an extensive acquisition and growth strategy’.

The company says that it will become ‘the first music specialists’ to issue a ‘mini-bond’ through the ExtraMOT Pro market on the Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock Exchange, which in turn is owned by the London Stock Exchange .

Founded by Claudio Ferrante (pictured) in 2009, the Milan-based company has 50 employees and reported a turnover of €10m in 2019.

Advised by Arpe Group and Frigiolini & Partners Merchantis, an initial tranche of €500,000 in mini-bonds will be issued in January 2020 followed by further tranche in July 2020 and then two more in 2021.

A total of €2m will be raised through these four tranches.

This will be the first step towards what the company hopes will become a full listing on the AIM section of the Borsa Italiana in due course.


Artist First also has offices in London, overseen by respected industry veteran Charlie Rapino, and works with artists such as Italian superstar Gazzelle and distributes Andrea Boccelli.

The company’s current roster includes producer Dardust, co-writer of Mahmood’s Soldi, which won Best Song at the 2019 Sanremo Festival and was chosen as Italy’s entry in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

Artist First also distributes a wide range of labels including Sugar and Carosello, the largest independents in Italy.

The parent company of Artist First, A1 Entertainment Spa, also has a significant shareholding in 432 Srl, the management company that represents Italian artists Le Vibrazioni, Francesco Gabbani and Tricarico among others.

“By entering the bond market, we are putting in place the funding to allow us to implement our ambitious strategy moving forward.”

Claudio Ferrante, Artist First

Artist First Founder and CEO Claudio Ferrante said: “Having established Artist First as major player in the Italian music market over the last decade our goal is now to grow the company through acquisition while expanding into new territories.

“As our company name suggests we are fully artist focused and put the creator at the heart of everything we do while looking to maximize their commercial opportunities in the marketplace.

“By entering the bond market, we are putting in place the funding to allow us to implement our ambitious strategy moving forward.”Music Business Worldwide

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