Warner Music Group will acquire the assets of 12Tone Music, the label founded by industry veteran Doug Morris after he stepped down as CEO of Sony Music, the companies announced Tuesday (July 20).
Founded in 2018 and most recently distributed by Warner’s independent label and artists services arm ADA, 12Tone’s catalog and roster include artists such as Aftermath’s four-time Grammy winner Anderson .Paak, country legend Dolly Parton, the 88 Rising collective (featuring global superstar Joji among their roster), Centricity’s Christian music star Lauren Daigle’s “Look Up Child,” electronic producer/ artist Illenium, and others. According to the announcement, under this arrangement, Morris will continue to be actively engaged in the day-to-day activities of 12Tone Music and its artists. The deal is expected to close towards the end of July.
Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group said: “12Tone is home to some of today’s most compelling artists and innovative label partners, encompassing emerging and established talent that crosses genres and generations. We’re very pleased that Doug has chosen Warner as the team to continue nurturing the amazing artists that 12Tone has signed and developed over the past three years.”
Doug Morris said: “After leading all three major music companies, I loved returning to my indie roots by starting 12Tone. I want to thank Steve Bartels and the 12Tone team for being such a big part of the picture. This three-year run has been a lot of fun. I look forward to remaining fully engaged with the WMG team, who are outstanding professionals. A special thanks to Max – I know the music couldn’t be in better hands.”
Multi-Grammy Award winning Anderson .Paak’s most recent Aftermath/12Tone album, Ventura, hit No. 2 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and became his first top five album on the Billboard 200. Most recently, he partnered with Atlantic’s Bruno Mars to create their explosive new joint project, Silk Sonic, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts with “Leave the Door Open.” The debut Silk Sonic album will be released this fall.
Top-charting Dance/Electronic artist, DJ, and producer ILLENIUM, who has over five billion collective global streams to date, signed with 12Tone in early summer of 2020, and his first album for the label, Fallen Embers, was released just last week.
The noted 88Rising label, founded by Sean Miyashiro, is an acclaimed platform for Asian American and Asian artists in the U.S., including multi-platinum Joji, who alone has seven billion global streams to date, along with Keith Ape, Rich Brian, Warren Hue, and Niki, among others. Rolling Stone noted that “Asian rap collective 88rising has quickly become one of the most popular, and groundbreaking, crews in music.”
Other 12Tone successes have included Lauren Daigle’s breakthrough into the pop mainstream with her third studio album, the Grammy-winning Look Up Child, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spent 41 weeks at No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart. In 2020, 12Tone released Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and Top Holiday Albums charts.