Larry Jackson’s $1bn-backed gamma is go: Eldridge and Apple-financed firm acquires Vydia, hires Ike Youssef, Ben Cook

Billboards displaying a teaser campaign for gamma have appeared in major cities in the past few days including Los Angeles, New York, and London

The music industry rumor mill has been bubbling away for some time about the next step for Larry Jackson – the US-based A&R impresario, and formerly Global Creative Director of Apple Muslc.

Now the wraps have been taken off Jackson’s new project, gamma (lower-case ‘g’).

According to one well-placed MBW source: “Larry’s raised a billion dollars for this thing. He’s not playing games.”

Jackson couldn’t be reached at press time to confirm or deny that sum – but the financial supporters of gamma are certainly as blue chip as they come.

They include Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, as well as Jackson’s former employer – Apple – plus A24.

Gamma’s already made its first acquisition, too: distribution and services company Vydia, founded by Roy LaManna, which has previously worked with artists including Akon, Kanye West, Mr Eazi, and Anuel AA.

That’s not all: gamma has already struck partnerships, as per a media release issued today (March 8), with Snoop Dogg and the Death Row catalog, plus Rick Ross, Naomi Campbell, and The Shade Room.

The company has also hired a string of well-known music industry figures for its leadership team, including Ike Youssef (Co-Founder and President); Ben Cook (President of UK and Europe); Scott Seviour (Chief Marketing Officer); Nathalie Besharat (EVP of Content Operations); and Breyon Prescott (EVP of Content and Music).

Roy LaManna becomes the firm’s Chief Technology and Product Officer, with Jackson as co-founder and CEO.

In addition, Tony Minella, Co-Founder and President, Eldridge, and Daniel Katz, Co-Founder and Partner, A24, will join gamma’s board, while Bill McDermott, CEO, Service Now, and Joseph Calabrese, Former Global Chair/Entertainment, Sports and Media Practice at Latham & Watkins, will serve as senior advisors. Fred Davis and Raine Group served as financial advisor to gamma.

Jackson’s new company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in New York and London.

What is gamma?

As per that media release, Jackson’s firm describes itself as “a modern media and music company created to revolutionize the way artists create, distribute, and monetize their content and brand”.

It adds: “gamma operates in distinct but connected business segments: Recorded Music, Visual Content, Media, Creative Agency, and Direct-To-Consumer Products. gamma’s capabilities revolve around three pillars — content creation, content distribution, and development of the artist-centered business enterprise.”

Said Larry Jackson: “The power of intellectual property and creative expression cannot be contained to any one format. The artists shaping today’s culture not only create music, but also video, film, podcasts, fashion, and more. They shouldn’t have to jump through multiple hoops to express themselves.

“gamma is built with the flexibility and aptitude that creators need to connect with fans on all formats and across all channels – with transparency and no restriction. We are a progressive media company powered by the best-in-class content distribution and analytics software by way of our Vydia acquisition. And central to its core, gamma is an ideas company.”

“The artists shaping today’s culture not only create music, but also video, film, podcasts, fashion, and more. They shouldn’t have to jump through multiple hoops to express themselves.”

Larry Jackson

Todd Boehly, Chairman and CEO of Eldridge, said: “Larry and Ike’s idea for gamma centers on service to the artist. We are excited to partner with them, Apple, and A24 to build a platform that helps artists deliver exceptional content with fans, and grow the enterprise value of their own brands.”

Oliver Schusser, Apple’s Vice President of Apple Music: “We’re excited to see Larry’s vision come to life with gamma. We’re always looking for new ways to support creators, and we can’t wait to see what talent across music, video, podcasts, and more dream up.”

And studio A24 added: “We couldn’t think of better partners to enter into the world of music with and are thrilled by the collective commitment to supporting both emerging and established artists of the highest caliber.”

In its own words

gamma’s launch media release, issued today, describes the company’s three core functions in the following words:

Content Creation

“Whether the artist is interested in recording and distributing an album, composing new music, producing short or long-form visual content, developing a podcast, or launching a consumer products business, gamma supports its creators with the means and resources to execute their vision. Key initiatives to date include Snoop Dogg and his Death Row catalog, Rick Ross, and Naomi Campbell. gamma will also collaborate with Eldridge on the growth and development of its iconic music copyrights.”

Content Distribution

“gamma acquired Vydia Inc. in December 2022 to provide content creators with the unfettered ability to publish and distribute audio-visual content on a global basis. Based on cutting-edge music technology and infrastructure, Vydia provides its creators with rights management services, advanced payments, transparent and automated royalty accounting, and daily performance analytics to help amplify the artist’s reach.”

The Artist-Centered Enterprise

“gamma recognizes that content creators have the ability to impact culture and commerce more than ever. Through direct engagement with their fans and a global reach that no longer relies on traditional advertising, artists are developing direct fan connectivity extending beyond an album or film. Artists are now in the driver’s seat of building their own direct-to-consumer and retail businesses on their terms, in a manner that rewards the value that they are creating.”

Gamma’s full leadership team is:

  • Larry Jackson, Co-Founder and CEO
  • Ike Youssef, Co-Founder and President
  • Ben Cook, President of UK and Europe
  • Scott Seviour, Chief Marketing Officer
  • Nathalie Besharat, EVP of Content Operations
  • Breyon Prescott, EVP of Content and Music
  • Roy LaManna, Chief Technology and Product Officer
  • Reza Hariri, Chief Revenue Officer Media
  • Jenna Gaudio, Co-President of Distribution
  • Mark Gorman, Co-President of Distribution
  • Rand Hoffman, Head of Business and Legal Affairs
  • Mika El-Baz, Strategic Communications Advisor
  • Doubleday & Cartwright, Creative Agency

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