Warner Records has announced the launch of a strategic partnership with BPG Music, founded by veteran execs Gee Roberson and longtime business partner Jean Nelson. According to the announcement, BPG Music/Warner Records’ approach focuses on providing a gateway for young black artists and entrepreneurs who are looking for the global reach of a major label while retaining their creative autonomy. Alongside their roles as CEOs of BPG Music, Roberson and Nelson also serve as advisors to Warner Records.

The first artists under the deal are rappers Erica Banks and David Sabastian.  

“Our goal at BPG/Warner is to discover, mentor, and grow the next generation of musical and cultural innovators and disruptors,” said Roberson and Nelson. “We want to use our knowledge and experience to help them navigate the process and take their careers to the next level, while maintaining their creative and business independence. Aaron, Tom, and the outstanding new team at Warner Records are the perfect partners for us to realize BPG’s unconventional vision.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Gee and Jean on this forward-thinking partnership,” said Warner Records Co-Chairman & CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck and Co-Chairman & COO Tom Corson. “They’re bringing their brilliant A&R minds and industry expertise to a unique portal that champions artistic freedom. This fresh business model charts new territory in the relationship between original talent and the major label ecosphere. They’ve already brought us two amazing artists in Erica Banks and David Sabastian, with whom we have very different, specially tailored deals, and we’re looking forward to collaborating on many more exciting projects.”

Banks was discovered and signed by 1501 Certified Entertainment CEO Carl Crawford, who also released Megan Thee Stallion’s first recordings. Banks’ single, “Buss It,” released via 1501 Certified/Warner Records has racked up more than 33.9 million global streams. Sabastian describes his album, “We Are God,” as a “holistic audio healing experience.”  

Roberson began his career at Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records before taking a senior post at Atlantic Records and then became chairman of Geffen Records before becoming a founding partner of the Maverick management firm. In addition to his role as founder & CEO of BPG Music, he is co-CEO of the Bluepring Group management company. Nelson started his career working with Sean “Puffy” Combs before taking senior A&R roles at Atlantic Records and Geffen Records.