HYBE America Acquires Quality Control, One of Music’s Biggest Acquisitions

Quality Control, one of the hottest labels in the rap game, has been acquired by Hybe America, a company steered by talent manager, Scooter Braun.

The acquisition is the first major step taken by Braun, who manages pop stars like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato, since he became chief executive of Hybe America. The company is a division of the South Korean entertainment firm Hybe, which dominates the K-pop world through its management of the superstar group BTS.

According to Variety, the deal was announced late Wednesday (Feb.9)  by Hybe America and QC Media Holdings, the label’s parent entity. The purchase price was not disclosed but is estimated at around $300 million.

“QC is one of the most significant independent labels in the world,” Braun said in a statement. “They not only distribute music, but they also distribute culture. Their artists are the voices of their communities.”

Since its founding in 2013, by Pierre Thomas —known as P— and Kevin Lee (Coach K), Quality Control led the careers of Migos, City Girls, Lil Baby and Lil Yachty. Back in 2017, the label had scored a global smash with “Bad and Boujee,” featuring the idiosyncratic, stuttering flow of the trio Migos, with a guest appearance by the rapper Lil Uzi Vert. The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Lil Baby alone has garnered 37 billion streams of his catalog, according to Quality Control.

Braun rose to power after discovering a young Bieber on YouTube. In 2019, he came under the crosshairs of Taylor Swift fans when his entertainment company, Ithaca Holdings, bought her former label, Big Machine — including the rights to her first six studio albums — for more than $300 million, without Swift’s participation. Ithaca later sold Swift’s albums to another investor.

In 2021, Braun joined Hybe after that company purchased Ithaca — which included Braun’s management deals, music publishing assets and the remainder of Big Machine — for over $1 billion.

“We want to take our brand worldwide and need partners with mindsets like ours — ground up, self-made and building companies from nothing,” Thomas, Quality Control’s chief executive, said in a statement. “All of Hybe’s leaders are entrepreneurs with track records for finding, growing and amplifying their talent globally.”

Thomas and Lee will remain at the helm of the label, under the direction of Braun.

Also in 2021, Warner Music Group paid $400 million for 300 Entertainment, which has released music by Megan Thee Stallion and Young Thug. That year, Sony Music also purchased a controlling stake in Alamo Records, whose acts include Lil Durk and Rod Wave. The value of that transaction was not disclosed but is estimated at close to $200 million.

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