After several rounds of layoffs and allegations of massive tax debts, Swiss fintech Utopia Music has sold Absolute Label Services back to its “original management team” around 17 months after buying the London-based company.
Absolute Label Services founders Henry Semmence and Simon Wills announced today that they have acquired “100% ownership of the Utopia Music business”. As mentioned, it’s been a pretty rough year for the latter company, which in 2021 completed a highly publicized wave of acquisitions (spanning Lyric Financial, Proper Music Group, Musimap, ROSTR and ForTunes, Sentric, and of course Absolute). and 2022.
However, while Utopia fended off litigation related to a failed acquisition of SourceAudio, it sold ROSTR to its own founders in February 2023 and siphoned money out of Sentric under an agreement with Believe in late March.
With these points in mind, as executives emphasized in their official change of ownership press release, Absolute has “maintained its original, long-standing team, leading-edge infrastructure and diverse customer base” since becoming part of Utopia last year.
In addition, the same executives mentioned the “significant growth” Absolute had since achieved — amounting to a reported 25 percent year-over-year increase in sales — and upcoming projects with Kaiser Chiefs, Tokyo Myers, and Delta Goodrem, to name a few to name.
In a statement, Absolute’s aforementioned co-founders, along with “original shareholders” Debs Cutting (Group Operations Director) and Mark Dowling (Director), made clear their ambitious vision for the reacquired company, but did not disclose the exact financial dates or the transaction circumstances behind the development.
“Absolute’s management team is pleased to announce our decision to continue independently,” it said in part. “The decision to return full ownership of the company and maintain its vision and direction was fueled by our unwavering commitment to continue providing exceptional label services.
“Our primary focus for the past 28 years has been helping our artists and labels thrive and grow,” the pros continued. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with all of them and providing them with the dedicated support, resources and innovative solutions they deserve.”
“We are committed to exploring new collaborations, forging strategic partnerships and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to take our labeling services to even greater commercial growth and success. Our commitment to investment and expansion remains resolute.”
At the time of writing, Utopia Music itself does not appear to have publicly addressed the Absolute sale. Earlier this month, the company quietly rebranded the aforementioned ForTunes to Utopia HeartBeat, dubbing the newly created offering “the music industry’s companion app.”