Sherrese Clarke Soares, CEO of $1bn-backed acquisition fund Tempo Music Investments, exits company

The CEO of a billion-dollar player in the acquisitive music fund space just left the building.

MBW has learned that Sherrese Clarke Soares is exiting her role as CEO of Tempo Music Investments, a heavily-financed rival to the likes of Hipgnosis Songs Fund, Round Hill Music, and Primary Wave. Soares says she is departing Tempo to launch her own venture.

New York-based Tempo is a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners. Tempo publicly arrived on the scene in November 2019, when it launched with $650 million to spend on music copyrights via equity and debt capacity, with most of the equity coming from Providence.

At that time, the fund announced it had partnered with Warner Music Group to handle distribution of its recorded music assets, and administration of its publishing rights.

According to its website, Tempo Music Investments’ “extensive portfolio” now features “work by global artists including Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Jonas Brothers, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Ariana Grande, Pink, and many more”.

The website also claims that Tempo has over $1 billion of investible capital at its disposal, suggesting it has added significant funds to its war-chest since that December 2019 announcement.

The Tempo site reads: “We share a belief that content is Queen. As established leaders and investors we’re actively pursuing opportunities derived from the distribution and consumption of global content, across all genres.”

When Tempo was launched in 2019, it was revealed that the company had already acquired the music publishing catalogs of songwriter/producers Jeff Bhasker, Shane McAnally, and Ben Rector.

These assets are understood to themselves have been acquired from Influence Media Partners, which used Morgan Stanley money to buy them in the first place in 2018.

Prior to launching Tempo, Sherrese Clarke Soares spent over 10 years at Morgan Stanley, most recently as the founder and head of the investment giant’s Entertainment, Media, & Sports Structured Solutions division, focusing on intellectual property assets.

In a note to colleagues sent yesterday (January 28) and obtained by MBW, Clarke Soares wrote: “Being the founder of Tempo awakened my entrepreneurial spirit and has been one of the major highlights of my career. Despite the birthing of Tempo as a result of several years of hard work at Morgan Stanley, I made the decision to resign as CEO to start my own venture.”

She added: “As many of you know, what is Tempo today started from a blank piece of paper and a call from a dear friend and colleague, Drew Hawkins, in 2015. None of what was accomplished at Tempo could have been done without having exceptional partners – my colleagues at Morgan Stanley, my friends at Warner Music Group, and the team at Providence.”

“Despite the birthing of Tempo as a result of several years of hard work at Morgan Stanley, I made the decision to resign as CEO to start my own venture.”

Sherrese Clarke Soares

Noting that Tempo was “well-positioned for future success”, Clarke Soares continued: “2020 taught me a lot about faith, resilience, perseverance, and intention. In a year with so much uncertainty and disruption to our daily lives, 2020 provided me with extreme clarity to focus on what is important. As such, I am off to pursue the next chapter, building an investment platform that will be the culmination of my values and my learnings over the last 20+ years.”

Meanwhile, the music catalog acquisitions space continues to heat up: yesterday, Primary Wave announced it had fully acquired Sun Records and its catalog of masters including classic tracks by Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Sherrese Clarke Soares was this week named in Billboard‘s new annual 100 executive list, Change Agents.Music Business Worldwide