FAQs Zebralution

Why is GEMA acquiring a stake in a digital music distributor ?
Due to the digitisation of the music market, GEMA finds itself in a disruptive market environment that requires it constantly to adapt its business model. Digital music use is booming, and new business models keep hitting the market. Digital distribution of both music and podcast and audiobook formats is rapidly becoming more important. GEMA has recognised the potential of this growth segment in the music market. By acquiring a majority stake in Zebralution, GEMA becomes one of the first licensing and collection societies to secure commercial participation in this segment. The acquisition also expands its performance portfolio and develops its digital services and technologies.

GEMA is thereby making a targeted investment in its future sustainability as a licensing and collection society and increasing its relevance in the digital music market. Further to the formation of the international joint venture ICE and the expansion of its range of digital services, GEMA is taking the next strategic step towards growth and digitisation with the Zebralution acquisition.

What does Zebralution do?
Founded in 2004, Zebralution was the first digital distributor of independent labels in Europe. The company currently has a portfolio of more than 1,000 labels and audio book publishers worldwide. In 2018, Zebralution  founded zebra-audio.net, a subsidiary that specialises in podcast distribution.

How big is Zebralution?
The company has 45 staff across six European locations.

Where are Zebralution’s headquarters?
Zebralution GmbH's registered office is in Berlin. It is also represented in  Amsterdam, Paris,  London, Bochum, Cologne and Leverkusen (EMS GmbH).

How big is GEMA's shareholding?
GEMA acquired a majority stake of 75.1% of the shares in Zebralution GmbH (as group parent company).

Are there specific future plans?
GEMA and Zebralution have clear common goals. Alongside other objectives, GEMA  wishes to build up contemporary digital music distribution services with Zebralution. These include, for example, services aimed directly at performing artists (business2artist) who want to circumvent labels and record companies and offer their music to listeners through digital music providers. This is of particular interest to the singer-songwriters among GEMA's members, since they will be able to choose to have their copyright and other relevant rights jointly managed under the GEMA roof in future. Furthermore, the companies plan to develop new offerings for music creators that meet digital music marketing requirements.

What does Zebralution hope to get from GEMA?
In GEMA, Zebralution has found the ideal, high-performance partner  with whom to build strong representation for music creators and performers. Their shared focus is fair remuneration for creative performances by all music creators.

The opportunity to develop new business sectors with GEMA on top of its current offer to labels and audiobook publishers also appeals to Zebralution. Among others, these include services aimed directly at singer-songwriters (business2artist) who want to circumvent labels and record companies and offer their music to listeners through digital music providers. Furthermore, there are plans to develop new offerings for music creators that meet  digital music marketing requirements.

What effect does the majority stake have on GEMA’s core business?
The core business is not affected.

How will Zebralution be integrated into GEMA?
Zebralution will operate as an independent business under the GEMA umbrella.

Does Zebralution retain its independence and Berlin headquarters?
Zebralution will operate as an independent business under the GEMA umbrella. Former Zebralution owners, Kurt Thielen and Sascha Lazimbat, will continue their successful work as MDs. Zebraluation will continue to be headquartered in Berlin.

Will the former MDs stay on board or will GEMA take over Zebralution's management?
Zebralution will operate as an independent business under the GEMA umbrella. Zebralution's former owners, Kurt Thielen, Christof Ellinghaus, Sascha Lazimbat and Konrad von Löhneysen, will remain involved in the company.  Sascha Lazimbat and Kurt Thielen will continue with their successful work as managing directors of Zebralution.

GEMA will allocate an experienced member of its own staff to the Zebralution management team.

How does the Zebralution holding benefit GEMA members?
Together with Zebralution, GEMA will in future be able to support its members in the digital distribution of their musical works. In the medium term, together with Zebralution, GEMA intends to offer its members efficient management of all relevant rights in the digital music market and to build up contemporary digital music distribution services. Among others, These include,  services aimed directly at singer-songwriters (business2artist) who want to circumvent labels and record coffer their music to listeners through digital music providers.

Are discounts planned at Zebralution for GEMA members?
The price rate cards for individual service offerings, particularly the planned business2artist model, have not yet been determined. In 2020, GEMA and Zebralution will provide members with further details about the performance portfolio. The Zebralution holding's purpose is quite clear: to support members through new and improved services, additional offerings and attractive pricing.