Universal Music Group Central Europe and ESL Announce Partnership and Joint Record Label for Esports Music

UMG and ESL will combine to create the ultimate destination for esports and music fans

Cologne, August 21, 2018 – Universal Music Group Central Europe, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment and ESL, the world’s largest esports company today announced an unprecedented multi-year partnership to exclusively help discover and promote new artists through ESL’s global tournaments and channels.

In an industry first, UMG will partner with ESL to create the ultimate destination for gaming and music fans alike to experience the official soundtrack of the world’s most exciting esports leagues and tournaments. The strategic partnership includes the launch of a new joint-label between ESL and UMG, where artists and producers will be able to submit their work to the label’s A&R team, who will sign and promote the most exciting talent across all ESL tournaments and channels worldwide to a captive audience of millions. This will also include the exclusive integration of new music into global live broadcasts and ESL social media channels, as well as performances during live tournaments, which will take place during half-time shows and prior to grand finals globally. In 2017 more than 205 million people watched ESL events around the world.

In making the announcement, Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon said, “I’m delighted that UMG and ESL, two market leaders in global entertainment, have joined forces. Together, our dedicated new label, with its laser-sharp focus on the artists and music of esports, will provide the soundtrack to the gaming experience for this massive global audience for years to come.”

“Music is a universal language and, like gaming, one of the key-pillars of pop-culture. Over the last couple years, live music acts have become an integral part of our global tournaments,” said Bernhard Mogk, SVP Global Sales & Business Development, ESL. “We are looking forward to giving new artists and talent a new platform to perform on and to provide even more entertainment to our fans, both on-site and for everyone watching our live streams around the world. This joint venture with Universal Music is a win-win for everyone.”

The strategic relationship with ESL and label partnership will be managed out of Universal Music Group’s Berlin headquarters by Dirk Baur, President Marketing Labs and Gustav Käll, Head of Esports at UMG, Central Europe, who will oversee day by day operations. “I am excited to be part of the first team to work on identifying and pushing artists specifically for the esports space,” commented Dirk Baur. “Marketing Labs specialises in strategies for content targeted at a digital audience and it will be a treat to develop international and multi-platform approaches for the global gaming community.”

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