‘Live Nation For The Mid-Market’

MAMA Group co-founder and former chief exec Dean James is back in the music industry with former Shazam exec Matt McCann and the backing of a huge Indian business.

James and McCann’s new company, which is called Sixth Plc, says it’s going to be the “the Live Nation for the mid-market.” It’s looking to acquire mid-level promoters, management companies, venues and festivals.

With record sales still on the wane, Sixth says it will put artists at the heart of a live-focused company. The money’s coming from Indian conglomerate Apeejay Surrendra, which owns Typhoo Tea in the UK. Sethu Vaidynathan, a senior director and family member of Apeejay, joins James and McCann on the board.

Apeejay Surrendra is one of India’s oldest and largest business conglomerates. The group’s businesses are spread across tea, shipping, hospitality, real estate, retail brands and more.

A little more than a year ago James departed MAMA under mysterious circumstances, with neither side saying whether he jumped or was pushed out. He was immediately replaced by Lloyds Development Capital chairman Richard Thompson. Lloyds stumped up most of the $11.7 million that enabled James to buy the company from HMV, just before the troubled entertainment retailer went into administration.

James was previously chief exec of Mean Fiddler Group, before moving on and helping the former HMV-owned company acquire such well-known music operations as Hammersmith Apollo, G-A-Y, Lovebox Festival, Great Escape and Supervision Management.

“I’m tremendously excited to finally be able to announce Sixth; we’re building a smart new global business and are delighted to have found a partner in Apeejay Surrendra that understands our vision – it will be interesting to watch the impact a company of its type will have as a new entrant to the music business,” James said. Sixth will operate from new offices in Hoxton, London, initially covering the UK, India and Asia Pacific.