International urban media company TRACE will enter the U.S. market with the launch of TRACE USA, LLC, Variety has learned. As part of its launch, the company will launch a new streaming service called TRACE Play, which delivers subscribers the urban music and content from the U.S. and around the globe, including 2,000 hours of on-demand programming, 30 digital radio stations, 9 live TV feeds, and the soon-to-be launched TRACE Prime TV network.
Media veteran John Pasmore, who previously worked with Russel Simmons on the media venture Oneworld, will lead the new company. TRACE USA is majority owned by African-American media experts and content creators who bring their knowledge of the US entertainment industry and significant social influence. Among the US shareholders and advisors are long time TRACE supporters Wyclef Jean, joined by FUBU TV founder and FUBU co-founder J. Alexander Martin, JKD Entertainment’s Karlie Lewis and Dora Din Whittley, and TV and movie producers Rob Marriott and Tonya Lewis Lee.
“After building the undisputed leading destination for afro-urban music and entertainment in Africa, France, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, we are honored to be part of this US venture with great partners,” said Olivier Laouchez, TRACE co-founder, group chairman and CEO. “TRACE has a unique editorial approach, socially connected and rooted at the intersection of American hip-hop culture, Afrobeat movement, and Caribbean sounds. This resonates particularly well with the millions of US-based diasporas of African descent and multicultural fans of urban culture.”
Since its initial launch in the US and UK 20 years ago as a niche print magazine, TRACE has become a leading global afro-urban media company. To date, it operates 30 digital and mobile services, 21 paid TV channels, 7 FM radio stations, and develops and produces premium content and syndication activities reaching 59 million paid TV subscribers and over 200 million viewers, listeners and mobile users across 160 countries worldwide.