Ultra Records and Ultra Music Festival Join Forces
Ultra Music and Ultra Music Festival (UMF) announced yesterday that they are joining forces in what is being called a “global alliance,”. The two companies will form one of the most powerful independent entities in electronic dance music (EDM), linking Ultra Music artists like Deadmau5 (which could be interesting considering his rant last year on UMF), Steve Aoki and Calvin Harris with UMF, the world’s biggest EDM event brand (with six festivals worldwide) in a time when big coporations are buying up festivals like the current buyout of Miami Based Dayglow and Disco Donnie Presents.
I think we’ve both come to a realization that a stronger link between different music areas make the combined Ultra brand even stronger,” Ultra Music President Patrick Moxey told Billboard.biz exclusively. “We have various new CDs and DVDs which will be coming out to support the expansion of the live music experience that [UMF co-founder and CEO] Russell [Faibisch] is setting up around the world. We have many new technology ideas we are discussing, but certainly we want to innovate to bridge the gap between the live experience and the recorded music experience around electronic dance music.”
On their own, the two Ultras are bastions of EDM independence: Ultra Music, Moxey’s record label, publishing house, management company and media platform in one, with an artist roster that ranges from underground (Bloody Beetroots) to mainstream (Pitbull and Calvin Harris); and UMF, the original Miami EDM super-festival, which has grown to six events internationally (including this month’s inaugural UMF Korea, the country’s biggest EDM event ever with over 60,000 attendees; and UMF Chile, which was just announced this week). But together, they form a uniquely potent platform, one able to take an artist from unknown, to chart and festival fodder in a single deal; and able to hold its own against increasingly hefty, corporate-backed competition.
With Ultra Music being the world’s #1 independent edm label, and Ultra Music Festival being the world’s premiere edm festival, together with our existing businesses and the expansion that each of us is undertaking, we believe the Ultra brand offers something that absolutely no other edm brand can,” he wrote. “A wide array of premium products, services and content including festivals/live events, record label services, film/video productions, live streams, original online TV programming and more.”
The alliance adds to Ultra Music’s recent deal with Wynn Resorts, the hotel group that’s been instrumental in making EDM the soundtrack to Las Vegas. That partnership will include compilation releases branded for Wynn’s four nightlife venues, as well as video content and distribution on Ultra’s popular YouTube channel.
News of the union might come as a surprise to those who thought that the Ultras were always all one (never true); and to others who thought them at odds (they have worked together in the past): There was a court case over use of the name in the early 2000s – Moxey founded Ultra Music (then Ultra Records) in 1996, while Faibisch and partner Alex Omes founded UMF in 1999 – but neither party has ever been willing to speak to it, and given today’s announcement, it seems moot.
We are very excited about this new stage of collaboration between Ultra Music and Ultra Music Festival,” said Moxey. “Everything remains the same with our two separate companies but we both believe this alliance benefits the growth of the Ultra brand.”
“It is a win-win situation for everyone.” added Faibisch.