In December 2019 GEMA acquired a majority stake in Zebralution GmbH, an innovative and commercially successful digital distribution company in the music industry. Further to the formation of the international joint-venture ICE and the expansion of its range of digital services, the acquisition of a majority stake in Zebralution is the next strategic step for GEMA towards growth and digitisation.
Founded in 2004, the company was the first digital distributor for independent labels in Europe and currently acts for more than 1,000 labels and audio book publishers worldwide. Zebralution will operate as an independent business under the GEMA umbrella.
“By taking a stake in Zebralution, GEMA has made a targeted investment that secures its future viability,” says Dr Harald Heker, GEMA's CEO. “Through Zebralution, we will also be able to support our members in the digital distribution of their musical works. GEMA’s relevance in the digital music market will thus be significantly increased.”
“We are very pleased to have found an ideal and extremely strong partner in GEMA,” says Kurt Thielen, founder and MD of Zebralution. “This also bridges a gap for musicians and performers, with the joint objective of achieving fair remuneration for creatives.”
Podcasts and audio books are a growth market
Alongside the digital distribution of music, Zebralution also distributes other audio con-tent. Zebra-audio.net, a subsidiary specifically founded for this purpose, specialises in dis-tributing and marketing podcasts. “The importance of podcasts and audio books has grown massively in the past few years,” says Sascha Lazimbat, also founder and MD of Zebralution. “Audio as a content format is a growth market whose enormous possibilities are far from exhausted.”