A financial services veteran with ties to money management giant BlackRock Inc.and the larger entertainment world will be making multimillion-dollar deals in the music business via a new investment firm based out of Austin.
Howard ‘Howie’ Lipson is one of the founders of the new Alignment Artist Capital, a venture backed by BlackRock’s $120 billion Alternative Investors arm that will make multi-year investments in the careers of musicians. Lipson is partnering with music industry veteran James Diener, who helped launch the careers of artists such as Maroon 5 through the Octone Records independent label Lipson helped to back financially.
Alignment seeks to make investments of $5 million to $20 million in artists with global reach who wish to launch projects or business ventures that don’t receive backing from major record labels. The fund does those deals for a period of years in exchange for revenue generated by all of an artist's creative business pursuits including touring, acting, and album and merchandise sales.
While Lipson will be based in Austin, the fund’s scope is on artists throughout the world.
"Being part of Octone for the past decade gave me a front row seat to observe the massive changes in how fans enjoy music and the pressures that artists have in creating music within conventional industry structures," Lipson said in a statement announcing the firm’s launch.
"I saw artists getting pulled into different, often conflicting directions. While there have been attempts to structure more comprehensive deals with artists, a lot of dissonance remains. With Alignment, we wanted to reduce the friction in the process and provide financing that takes a holistic view of an artist's career and the overall music business. We'll be investing in artists we believe in within a time horizon that provides a good runway for the creative process and a philosophy that will reap solid returns."
In addition to Octone, Lipson was also a partner and member of the investment committee at Blackstone. He also served as managing director at the Pilot Group, a media-oriented private equity firm started by iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, plus he helped advise and raise financing for the Sony-led consortium that acquired EMI Music Publishing for $2.2 billion.