Relativity Media has acquired a stake in Downtown Records, home to Gnarls Barkley,
Santigold and Cold War Kids. Through the investment, the company can increase services
offered through its Relativity Music unit, where music supervision, publishing and soundtracks
are handled.Happy Walters, chief operating officer of Relativity, will oversee the investment for
the company. Downtown Records is expected to use the capital infusion to sign new artists
and acquire and market other catalogs. It currently boasts a library of more than 5,000 songs
including 2006 hit "Crazy" by the duo of Cee Lo Green and Danger Mouse, aka Gnarls Barkley.
The move is the latest by Relativity to push beyond its origins as a film production unit -- the
company has been responsible for more than 200 films. The Relativity empire includes divisions
dedicated to film production, distribution and financing, television, athlete representation, a
fashion/style/design arm and a digital content production studio. Downtown and Relativity’s
divisions will work closely together to leverage each other’s properties.
Aligning with labels is commonplace for independent film companies and studios and has
shifted considerably in the digital age. Each of the majors has a music distribution arm in addition
to music publishing operations that, for high-profile projects, partner with other labels. Summit
tapped Interscope for Junkie XL’s score to Divergent; Epic partnered with Universal Pictures’
Back Lot label months after the release of Despicable Me 2, pushing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”
to the top of the Hot 100.