Memphis is widely considered the birthplace of the music we love today. It is also the hometown of George Monger, the founder and CEO of Connect Music Group, a black-owned music startup launched in 2020. Specifically, the Memphis-based company is a music monetization platform that provides distribution and publishing administration services.
As black creators are disproportionately impacted by industry downfalls, Monger is committed to proving music is an asset class by helping the band own their music and become profitable in an era. of today’s streaming. The founder has over 200 label clients and has developed editorial partnerships with streaming giants Pandora, Spotify and Apple. Additionally, Monger also recruited Boosie Badazz as the co-owner of Connect Music.
Putting artists first
Empowering artists is at the heart of the business, as he has worked to bring together a team of people with experience in various industries. With such collaboration of skilled minds, Connect Music strives to expose independent artists to opportunities that will leverage their likeness and brand to increase their revenue.
In the act of building a community for entertainment-focused entrepreneurs, Connect Music has purchased property for its headquarters for $2.5 million, per Memphis Innoc. The bold move aligns with the team’s big goal of raising $15-20 million after generating over $1 million in revenue in its first full year, completing a seed funding round. of $600,000 in the fall. Today, with its latest announcement, the company is continuing the energy of “Go big or go home.”
New fund for independent artists
According to a press release shared with AfroTech, Connect Music has partnered with Preserver Partners — an investment management firm in Memphis — to establish a $10 million credit facility for independent artists to help them grow. invest fully in their talent towards long-term success.
“Our relationship really started with the goal of wanting to improve the way creators were paid,” Monger told AfroTech. “The importance of Memphis as a music city, so many creative talents are coming out of Memphis – usually having to leave the community to make things happen. Floyd being a local company with $300 million in assets and Connect Music being a local startup, we just thought the synergy was ideal as we see a booming music economy.
The credit facility is intended “to fostering economic empowerment through ownership of intellectual property rights in visual, musical and sound copyrights. Artists connected to the new initiative will receive a team, infrastructure and resources comparable to major labels while retaining ownership of their music,” the statement said.
“Too often we hear of bad deals and unscrupulous individuals and/or record companies taking advantage of certain artists’ lack of business experience or knowledge,” Floyd Tyler, president and chief investment officer of Preserver Partners, shared with AfroTech. “We hope to be a reliable source of capital that will allow them to invest in their music and increase their streaming income without going into debt or giving up their ownership rights. Much of the business world is trying to take his agency away from him in exchange for the promised success. We do the opposite. It’s powerful.
According to Tyler, the partnership should leave a big impact on the Memphis music scene.
“The [credit facility] will be a game changer for some artists,” he said. “Before now, no major capital provider has committed to investing in the Memphis music scene through a model that invests in promoting its music and building its brand without taking ownership rights. “
Empowering Black Creators in the Music Industry
Although economic empowerment and ownership of intellectual property rights are essential in music, not all artists may have access to knowledge about what exactly this entails. It is for this reason that Connect Music makes sure that it starts while explaining the ins and outs of certain parts of the music industry such as agreements, payment from streaming, etc. All in all, empowerment is the ultimate mission of the company.
“We seek to empower the entire creative community. This is a 60% black city with a 60% poverty rate. We intentionally focus on building not only those who are front and center on stage, but also from those who are behind the scenes. So that’s our goal for the whole creative community in the region. In the Southeast, in general, we don’t usually see investments in infrastructure. We see people pick up an artist in Memphis or Atlanta or New Orleans, but we don’t usually see infrastructure in southeastern communities and we do what we can as a small business to oblige them to reconsider this strategy.”