After 23 years at the helm, Simon Dunmore has stepped down with his managing director Wez Saunders acquiring the house music behemoth.

Legendary dance music label, Defected, has changed handers with Wez Saunders completing a management buyout.

As part of the transition, Saunders will become CEO and founder Dunmore will work alongside Saunders as an A&R consultant.

Saunders originally joined Defected in 2014 after a career outside the music industry. In an interview with Attack last year, Saunders, originally a DJ, placated his mother by working in a ‘real job’. After a life-changing moment including the loss of a family member, Saunders switched to the music industry in 2010.

Documents lodged at Companies House show that Saunders has entered into a security agreement via a holding company with Pinnacle Bank to fund the acquisition of Defected. The deal was completed on July 29.

Defected has been a success story in a chaotic time for the music industry with 2022 their most successful year to date. Over the past eight months, Defected has tracked 2.4 billion global streams, 600,000-plus tickets across 300-plus events bolstered by an online community of over 10 million. 

Defected’s CEO Wez Saunders said: “Defected has always upheld house music’s standards globally by supporting innovative artists and by consistently servicing our community with quality recorded music, live events, digital marketing strategies and more. I am grateful to Simon Dunmore for his ongoing mentorship and for trusting us to continue his legacy, evolving the next generation of Defected. It is our intention alongside partners, associates, talent and staff to preserve the culture and values that built such a powerful community of artists and fans, while driving the business into a new era of investment, impact and expansion.”

Simon Dunmore said: “Having survived multiple transitional battles and near-death experiences, I am proud to be considered a house music pirate, an entrepreneur waving the flag for the culture I love and in doing so building a reputable company that has marauded its way through the turbulent music industry for the last 23 years. All captains need a first mate, a leader to steady the ship and lead the crew. Wez Saunders has been my right-hand man for eight years. Together, we have navigated Defected into prolific times, helping build an incredible team and a business with solid foundations due to its treasure chest of masters and publishing catalogues.

Defected’s catalogue includes singles from artists such as Bob Sinclar, Kings of Tomorrow, Masters At Work, Inner City, Dennis Ferrer, Marc Kinchen (MK), and more recently Purple Disco Machine, Love Regenerator (Calvin Harris), The Martinez Brothers, Peggy Gou, John Summit, Jamie Jones and many more.

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Author Eric Brünjes
23rd August, 2022

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