Ole Acquires Anthem Entertainment Group, Home of Rush

By Ed Christman, Billboard, November 10, 2015


Canadian music publisher ole has taken a big step in the record label business with the acquisition of the Anthem Entertainment Group, the Canadian record label started by Ray Danniels in the mid 1970's that has issued albums by Rush, Big Wreck, the Tea Party, Ian Thornley, Bob & Doug McKenzie (Strange Brew), Ian Thomas, Coney Hatch, Moe Koffman and Steven Page among others. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal builds upon ole's opening of red dot, an artist develop label launched earlier this year with releases from Haley Reinhart, Josh Dorr and Josh Thompson.

"ole is very excited about entering the label services business and building on the foundation of Ray Danniel's storied company, ole chairman and CEO Robert Ott said in a statement. "ole is proud to continue to be the home of Rush and the other great artists with Anthem. We look forward to working closely with Anthem's artists and business partners to further success."

As part of the deal, Anthem's long-time A&R director Andy Curran joined ole as GM of labels services/A&R; brining along Tyler Tasson as manager of label services, while Anthem vp Pegi Cecconi will work as an ole consultant.

"I am pleased that Anthem and its ongoing legacy have found a new home with ole," said Danniels, who will continue as president of SRO Management, which represents Rush and other artists. Daniels said that the deal with ole and Ott gives Anthem Entertainment and Anthem Records a vision for the future while "protecting its past."

Earlier in 2014, ole acquired the Rush publishing catalog, known as Core Music Publishing, and earlier in 2015, the Mark-Cain publishing catalog from Anthem Entertainment. That deal included 40 albums from such Canadian artists as Max Webster, Ian Thomas, Lawrence Gowan, The Reason, Coney Hatch, Boys Brigade, Rikers, Spoons, and Aerial.

The latest deals give ole another 2,100 master recordings and 1,200 audio/visual masters.

In the U.S., Anthem acts are distributed by the Warner Music Group and Concord. Rush, the label's best-selling act, has scanned more than 15 million album units since the advent of Nielsen SoundScan, now known as Nielsen Music, in 1991.

Alex Lifeson, guitarist and co-founder of Rush, said, "I'm pleased to see that Anthem Records has landed with ole, the home of our music publishing catalog. I wish them great success with their new label business. Congratulations to our longtime manager Ray Danniels and CEO of ole, Robert Ott on completing their deal!"