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Sony Music merges its distribution units into The Orchard worldwide

By | Published on Tuesday 6 June 2017

The Orchard

Following the news last week that Sony Music in the UK was merging its two distribution and label services businesses – Red Essential and The Orchard – yesterday the major announced a similar move across much of the rest of the world. Sony Music’s regional distribution units will be folded into The Orchard, and will now report into its CEO Brad Navin.

As previously reported, The Orchard became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music in 2015, the major having originally acquired another digital distribution firm – IODA – which subsequently merged with its rival.

Despite being wholly owned by Sony Music, The Orchard has generally operated autonomously from its parent company, which has also continued to offer distribution and other services to independent artists and labels in various markets. Many of those latter Sony units originally provided physical distribution to indie labels, but subsequently expanded the services they offered and some started working with artists directly as well.

In the US, where Sony’s other services company also used the Red brand, a separate division called Red Music will live on. Red US’s distribution business will become part of The Orchard, however Red Music will still exist separately and offer marketing, promotion and other services to artist and label clients.

The big restructure of Sony’s distribution businesses worldwide will – says The Orchard – give it “the capabilities to provide labels and artists from anywhere in the world the full range of label and artist marketing, sales and distribution services, across all formats, platforms and territories”.

Commenting on the move, Navin said: “Our newly merged company is unique in structure, scale and reach. Coming together as one company that is both truly global and locally-focused will allow us to take the service we provide to our artist and label partners to the next level. The Orchard is the only global comprehensive digital and physical distribution platform with its own delivery, sales, distribution and reporting systems built specifically for independent clients. With a single deal clients have the ability to deliver their music to every leading global and local digital and physical retailer and reach music fans around the world”.

The all-new marketing-focused Red Music in the US will be led by Bob Morelli, who says of that: “For our label and artist partners in the US, we are significantly multiplying the levels of quality service we provide with these exciting new changes. Not only will distribution clients now enjoy unmatched global reach as part of The Orchard under Brad Navin, but also our marketing and label services clients in the US will now receive dedicated attention from the new Red Music to make sure their releases are receiving highly customised solutions for the best possible profile in the marketplace”.