Absolute Label Services Reacquired by Founders Just 17 Months After Its Utopia Acquisition

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(l to r) Absolute Label Services’ Henry Semmence, Simon Wills, Mark Dowling, and Debs Cutting. Photo Credit: Absolute Label Services

Following multiple layoff rounds and allegations of massive tax debts, Swiss fintech Utopia Music has sold Absolute Label Services back to its “original leadership team” about 17 months after purchasing the London-headquartered business.

Absolute Label Services’ founders, Henry Semmence and Simon Wills, announced today that they had purchased “one hundred percent of the company from Utopia Music.” As mentioned, it’s been something of a rough year for the latter entity, which executed a much-publicized acquisition spree (extending to Lyric Financial, Proper Music Group, Musimap, ROSTR and ForTunes, Sentric, and, of course, Absolute) during 2021 and 2022.

While fending off litigation stemming from a nixed SourceAudio acquisition, however, Utopia sold ROSTR to its own founders in February of 2023 and cashed out of Sentric as part of a late-March agreement with Believe.

Bearing in mind the points, Absolute, execs emphasized in their formal release about the ownership change, has “maintained its original, long-standing team, leading infrastructure and diverse client base” since becoming part of Utopia last year.

Additionally, these same higher-ups touched upon the “significant growth” achieved by Absolute in the interim – to the tune of a described 25 percent year-over-year revenue hike – as well as forthcoming projects involving the Kaiser Chiefs, Tokio Myers, and Delta Goodrem, to name some.

In a statement, the aforesaid Absolute co-founders, along with fellow “original shareholders” Debs Cutting (group operations director) and Mark Dowling (director), made clear their ambitious vision for the reacquired entity but didn’t divulge the transaction’s financials or the precise circumstances behind the development.

“Absolute’s management team is excited to announce our decision to move forward independently,” they relayed in part. “The decision to revert the full ownership of the company, and to preserve its vision and direction, was fuelled by our unwavering commitment to continue providing exceptional label services.

“Our primary focus for the last 28 years has been delivering success and growth for our artists and labels,” proceeded the professionals. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with all of them, and providing the dedicated support, resources, and innovative solutions they deserve.

“We are committed to exploring new collaborations, forging strategic partnerships, and harnessing cutting-edge technologies to elevate our label services to even greater commercial growth and success. Our dedication to investment and expansion remains resolute.”

At the time of this writing, Utopia Music itself didn’t appear to have publicly addressed the Absolute sale. Earlier this month, the company quietly rebranded the above-highlighted ForTunes into Utopia HeartBeat, billing the newly minted offering as “the companion app for the music industry.”