Versus Creative Launches ‘Intentional Listening’ Label with Universal Music Canada

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OFFAIR Records, a newly-formed label focused on mood music and “intentional listening experiences,” is launching today in partnership with Universal Music Canada (UMC), the company tells Billboard. Global distribution for the imprint, which is being launched by creative agency Versus Creative, will be provided by UMC and Virgin Music Artist + Label Services.

Co-founded by Versus partners Rishi Shah and Nate Auerbach, OFFAIR’s stated mission is “to create deeper experiences with music” via instrumental and experimental releases from artists “exploring beyond their familiar sonic territories.” The label will strive to inspire “intentional listening,” supported by special events, partnerships and more spearheaded by Versus’ creative and digital marketing team.

One of the label’s first signees is Highland Park Sleep Collective, a duo comprised of producers Tim Anderson and Filip Nikolic (Billie Eilish, Pabllo Vittar, King Princess), formerly of Poolside, who just put out the ambient album OFFAIR: Music For Water on the label. Other OFFAIR artists at launch include Swedish singer-songwriter Anders Fridén (vocalist of metal band In Flames); jazz singer-songwriter-pianist Niia; record producer Oh No; and recording artist, music director and drummer Pauli the PSM. Upcoming releases for those acts will be announced soon.

OFFAIR Records was inspired by Versus’ OFFAIR phone-free performance series at Public Records in Brooklyn, which has featured sets by Orion Sun, Raphael Saadiq, Moses Sumney, Angel Olsen and others.

“Instead of music getting stuck in your head, we want your head to get lost in the music,” said Shah and Auerbach in a joint statement. “OFFAIR is about foreground music – not what you put on in the background while you do something else. Through OFFAIR we want to drive a deeper connection between how we listen and what our minds and bodies are doing while we listen.”

“Finding ways to unplug and stay present while leaning into music that brings focus to our intentions is so powerful – and perhaps more important now than ever,” added Jeffrey Remedios, chairman & CEO, Universal Music Canada. “The OFFAIR team have created a distinct and compelling brand that invites artists to explore mood music while centering the creative process. Through this label joint venture, we’re proud to work alongside Rishi, Nate, and our colleagues at Virgin Music to invite the world to join us off air.”

Founded by Shah in 2014, Versus Creative’s recent clients have included Goldenvoice, Amazon Music, Oatly, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, CHVRCHES, Discogs and Vinyl Me, Please. Shah and Auerbach were named to Billboard’s Digital Power Players list in 2019.

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