NEW YORK— Universal Music Group (UMG) is leading a $6 million Series A funding round for Mass Appeal, a New York-based media & content company focused on urban culture. Additional investors in the round of funding include Evolution Media, Jon Jashni (Raintree Ventures), Charles King (Macro), Michael Kassan (MediaLink), Usher, Steve Stoute, Karen Lauderand existing investors White Owl Capital and Nas.
Founded in 1996 as a graffiti magazine, Mass Appeal’s business has grown to include production and development of TV, film and commercial content, creative services for blue chip brands, a leading urban alternative record label and owned media channels across social, web and print.
The company’s slate of work has rapidly diversified in recent years. The feature documentary Fresh Dressed, directed by Mass Appeal Chief Creative Officer Sacha Jenkins and produced in partnership with CNN Films, debuted at Sundance Film Festival in 2015. In July 2016, Mass Appeal announced a content partnership with TBS and TNT, including the digital animated series Storyville and Think B.I.G., a scripted series based loosely on the life and lyrics of the late Notorious B.I.G. Mass Appeal has a multitude of projects in various stages of production and development which will hit the air beginning in 2017.
In addition, Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG, has agreed to join Mass Appeal’s board of directors.
“At Universal Music Group, we are creating new opportunities for our artists and labels to forge deeper relationships with fans around the world through music, film, television, video, social media and brand sponsorships,” Anthony said. “Working with Mass Appeal, we will be able to accelerate that strategy. I’m honored to join Mass Appeal’s board and I’m looking forward to working closely together on many future projects.”
“Universal’s reach and influence is unparalleled in music and beyond. To have a partner that owns some of the world’s most compelling IP is an amazing step for our business. Together, UMG and Mass Appeal will create iconic, globally impactful content, and we couldn’t be more excited to get to work,” says Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal.