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BMG has struck a strategic partnership with French Ligue 1 football (soccer) club Olympique de Marseille (OM) that includes the launch of OM Records, a new hip-hop, rap and R&B label.

OM Records will be headquartered in Marseille, France, which has been a hotbed of French hip-hop since the 1990s and served as a proving ground for artists including BMG publishing clients IAM and Fonky Family. Emile Hauck will manage the new imprint and all of the club’s other music activities as OM Records’ A&R and project manager. He will report to BMG France general manager Sylvain Gazaignes.

Under the agreement, BMG will be the exclusive partner for all OM music projects and activities; it also includes a licensing deal for BMG’s production music library, which OM will use for all internal and external content.

“Olympique de Marseille is above all a football club, but its impact goes far beyond the fields, especially among young people in Marseille,” said Olympique de Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud. “L’OM is a powerful lever to unleash the great artistic potential of this population. Marseille has been a cradle of French rap and hip-hop since the IAM collective and the links between OM and local artists have been strong for years. The launch of OM Records strengthens this link and symbolizes the club’s desire to promote the unique energy that emanates from Marseille and its people all over the world.”

Acquired in 2016 by U.S. businessman Frank McCourt, Olympique de Marseille is the only French team to have won the Union of European Football Associations’ (UEFA) Champions League tournament. In July, it also became the first Ligue 1 club to broadcast a live soccer match on Twitch.

“It has been almost three years since Frank McCourt approached us about exploring a partnership between Olympique de Marseille and BMG,” added Jon Loeffler, BMG executive vp repertoire & marketing, New York. “He recognized the natural synergies between many of the young OM football players and the music scene in Marseille. We are thrilled to have now formalized this partnership and look forward to celebrating the culture and passion of sports and music in Marseille. It is a winning combination. Allez OM!”

Added Gazaignes, “The cultural link between hip-hop and soccer is very strong, especially in a city like Marseille with such a vibrant and creative music scene. The partnership with OM offers new opportunities for established acts, emerging talents and artist collectives from Marseille, the South of France and Africa.”

The collaboration between BMG and OM kicked off at the beginning of the pandemic, when OM gathered a collective of artists from Marseille under the name OM La Compo to create the charity single “cOMbat quotidien,” which was supported and released by BMG. All proceeds from the single were donated to Marseille’s hospitals and others in need via the OM Foundation.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/9455011/bmg-record-label-french-soccer-club-olympique-de-marseille/

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