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Warner Music Group steps up investment in Los Angeles venture for artists

Warner Music Group steps up investment in Los Angeles venture for artists
Recording artist Charlie Puth, who works with the joint venture Artist Partners. (Jordan Strauss / Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Record label Warner Music Group has extended its investment in Artist Partners Group, a Los Angeles-based joint venture that has supported musicians like rapper Kevin Gates and pop singer Charlie Puth.

Founded in 2013 by veteran Warner Music and Atlantic Records executive Mike Caren, Artist Partners provides business services to artists and producers including recording studios, marketing, mentorship and legal support.

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The company is also opening a new recording studio in West Hollywood, which will serve as the venture's new headquarters.

Caren's firm is growing at a time when artists are looking for more ways to make money as they contend with falling album sales and paltry royalties from streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody.

Caren, who first started with Atlantic when he was 17, said he sees his business as a "cross between an angel investor and a collaborative work-space for the music business."

"We're trying to meet the needs of a changing generation of artists," Caren said. "We're attracting the entrepreneurial and ambitious ones that want to be part of something new."

The money from Warner Music will support operations including artists and repertoire (A&R) and marketing, and help the company expand its staff from 12 employees to 20 in the next year.

Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed, but in an interview Monday, Caren said Warner Music and Atlantic are investing "multiple millions" of dollars in the venture, a sister company to Caren's Artist Publishing Group.

Artist Partners help musicians and producers find new business opportunities, including movie and television soundtracks and branding (Kevin Gates' song "I Don't Get Tired" has been made into an energy drink).

The venture shares in the rights to records it supports, such as Gates' "Islah" and Puth's "Nine Track Mind," both of which were released by Atlantic and debuted in the Billboard top 10  this week.

Caren, who is CEO of Artist Partners and a creative officer at Warner Music, has been heavily involved in film soundtracks such as "Furious 7." He is also working on the soundtrack for the upcoming Warner Bros.-DC super villain film "Suicide Squad."

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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