Music-based Lifestyle Brand WRKSHP Launches in Detroit; Led by Grammy-Winning Producer Che Pope and Serial Entrepreneur Dan Gilbert
WRKSHP to disrupt the traditional record label model with partnerships offering artists a larger share of their talent-driven profits
DETROIT, Jan. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- WRKSHP, a music-based lifestyle company, launched today in Detroit's Capitol Park with an artist-centric approach that will fundamentally disrupt the music industry.
The announcement honors the 63rd anniversary of Motown Records being formed by Berry Gordy with an $800 loan from his family.
The company's founders – Che Pope, a multi-platinum producer with decades of multi-faceted experience in the music industry and Dan Gilbert, best known for incubating disruptive businesses including Rocket Mortgage, StockX, and 100 Thieves – aim to amplify emerging artists and bring transparency and integrity to an intentionally complex and outdated system designed to take advantage of artists.
Many artists are still signed to royalty-based contracts and do not participate in ownership of their masters and intellectual property – arguably one of their most valuable assets. WRKSHP seeks to upend that traditional exploitative model by building a community of emerging artists and providing infrastructure within which artists develop and thrive.
"Instead of signing artists to these '360-degree' deals, WRKSHP will partner with and educate creatives so they profit share from revenues derived from their intellectual property and most effectively monetize their art," said Che Pope, CEO of WRKSHP. "By being truly transparent, WRKSHP empowers artists to realize their maximum potential."
WRKSHP will position its artists as more than just performers by helping them establish themselves as brands, offering its artist roster partnership contracts, along with a customized suite of support services, including:
- talent development
- marketing and promotion
- content production
Dan Gilbert's Detroit Venture Partners led this initial round of investment alongside co-lead investments from Stellation Capital's Peter Boyce and KKFarm, the Taiwanese music technology firm.
"Music is the compass that connects people toward a collective path. Detroit, more than any city, validates that bond across many generations. Arts and culture are the catalysts that ignite renaissance cities," said Dan Gilbert. "Che is a renaissance man whose life's work culminates through WRKSHP's bold vision. Detroit's deep-rooted history in moving the world through global multi-genre musical contributions makes it the natural choice for our headquarters."
Additional investors in WRKSHP include Courtside Ventures, Greg Schwartz (COO, StockX), Ndamukong Suh, Sean McCaffrey (CEO, Gas Station TV), William and Wynn Wesley, among others.
"As someone who has seen the many challenges new artists face to become successful in this industry, I recognize that the assets WRKSHP provides can be a game changer, especially with it being under the leadership of my good friend of many years, Che Pope," said James Poyser, multi-Grammy and Emmy-winning The Roots band said. "He's a seasoned vet, well-versed in all facets of this music business: songwriting, production, artist development, management, creative, marketing, etc, etc…he's done it all, at the highest level, with some of the biggest stars in history…and his experience makes this a sure shot to be very successful."
As a minority-owned and operated company with an equally diverse group of investors, WRKSHP promotes inclusion in an industry and provides opportunities for participation. Currently, 19.8% of music execs were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, including 7.5% who were Black, and it is even more alarming when hip-hop is the world's number one most consumed genre of music.
WRKSHP aspires to actively contribute to Detroit's creative community by starting with signing and collaborating with local artists, hosting educational workshops, and producing talent shows, concerts and festivals attracting industry executives and high-profile industry executives to the city.
"Che Pope has a very impressive resume working with some of the greatest music creators in modern history," CEO of Goliath Records and longtime manager of Eminem, Paul Rosenberg, said on the company's formation. "Bringing his talents to the Motor City provides an incredible opportunity for artists and the local music scene to flourish locally and beyond."
"Success looks like Detroit re-cementing itself as one of the premier music cities of the world and establishing WRKSHP as a leading music powerhouse in the industry built alongside our multi-genre artist roster," said Pope.
Interested creatives, artists, and candidates can contact WRKSHP by emailing email@example.com.
WRKSHP ("Workshop") is a music-based lifestyle company focusing on 5 key areas: multimedia, data, creative, product, and experience. The company is both a lifestyle brand and offers comprehensive services for artists to launch/incubate their career, spinoff passion projects, create art with transparency, and be a part of something bigger than just music.
Headquartered in Detroit, the company was founded in 2021 by super producer, composer, and media executive Che Pope and Dan Gilbert, serial entrepreneur known for founding disruptive companies Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT), StockX, Bedrock Real Estate, and 100 Thieves, majority owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, among other active investments.