Big news in the world of distribution.
Independent digital and physical distribution/services company Redeye has been acquired by Exceleration Music for an undisclosed sum.
Redeye represents several of the world’s most significant independent labels, in the US and globally, including Beggars Group, Domino, New West, Yep Roc, Sundazed, Saddle Creek, Mom+Pop, Kemado/Mexican Summer, Stones Throw, Warp, Drag City, Real Gone, Innovative Leisure, Carpark, !K7, Thrill Jockey, Luaka Bop, Partisan, Sargent House, Ninja Tune, Barsuk, and Daptone, as well as Exceleration’s own labels.
Founded by Tor Hansen and Glenn Dicker, Redeye is headquartered in North Carolina, with a team of over 120 across 15 locations spanning the US, Canada, Europe, the UK and Australia.
Redeye also maintains what it calls a “robust European distribution operation” in Sweden (acquired through its merger with Border Music in 2019).
The acquisition, which, Exceleration notes marks a substantial expansion of its operational reach, also encompasses Redeye’s in-house labels, Yep Roc and Sundazed, and its publishing company Riff City Sounds.
Yep Roc is home to artists like Nick Lowe, Dave Alvin, Aoife O’Donovan, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet, and Jobi Riccio. Sundazed is a prominent reissue label in the United States.
Under the terms of the strategic transaction, Redeye founders Glenn Dicker and Tor Hansen have become shareholders in Exceleration Music.
Exceleration Music says that its Redeye buyout marks a “pivotal moment” for its company.
Exceleration was launched by five indie sector executives in January 2021, backed by what it described as “substantial investment capital”.
The music venture is still led by its group of original founders, including Glen Barros (former CEO of Concord Music Group), Dave Hansen (Executive Chairman of Merlin and former GM of Epitaph), Charles Caldas (former CEO of Merlin), Amy Dietz (former GM of Ingrooves) and John Burk (GRAMMY-winning producer and former president of Concord Records).
The US-headquartered company says that it is funded by investments from each of its partners, as well as institutional and private investors.
Exceleration says that it has “concentrated on investing in the acquisition, production, and optimization of music rights” since its inception.
Amongst those investments were Bloodshot Records, Kill Rock Stars, Mom+Pop, and SideOneDummy, and most recently, India-based indie label Azadi Records, which marked Exceleration’s expansion into to Asia.
Following the Redeye deal, Exceleration Music says that its scope of operation now consists of two divisions:
- Its ‘established rights’ group, which comprises what it calls “investments and partnerships” with labels and catalogs such as +1 Records, Alligator, Azadi, Bloodshot Records, Candid, Heroic, Kill Rock Stars, Mom+Pop, SideOneDummy, The Ray Charles Foundation/Tangerine Records, and now Yep Roc and Sundazed.
- Its newly-acquired distribution and label services business, which will continue to operate under the Redeye brand, helmed by Dicker and Hansen. Exceleration says that it will maintain Redeye’s existing team and infrastructure.
Key executives at Redeye include Michael Petkov, Head of International; Jason Taylor, Director of Global Sales (Physical and Digital); Laura Pittard, Director of Global Marketing; Michael Howard, Associate V.P. of Global Operations; Hank Stockard, Global Business Development Director; Sean Pecor, IT Director; and Jim Trenner, Global Accounting Director.
According to a press release, the deal will provide “independent music partners of both Exceleration and Redeye with a fully independent and well-resourced path to market; comprising worldwide physical and digital distribution, as well as label, marketing, and technical expertise”.
“The addition of Redeye, Yep Roc, Sundazed and Riff City Sounds represents an important expansion of Exceleration’s overall strategy to strengthen the independent community.
Glen Barros, Exceleration Music
“The addition of Redeye, Yep Roc, Sundazed and Riff City Sounds represents an important expansion of Exceleration’s overall strategy to strengthen the independent community,” said Exceleration Music partner Glen Barros.
“Redeye already provides a great service to an impressive set of first-rate indie labels looking for a distributor that can service both physical and digital channels on a global basis.
“Together with Glenn, Tor and the Redeye team, we plan to expand Redeye’s already impressive network and to collectively help our current, and future label partners to truly thrive.”
“Working with the Exceleration team feels like expanding the family.”
Glenn Dicker, Redeye
Redeye co-founder Glenn Dicker, added: “Working with the Exceleration team feels like expanding the family.
“Sharing strong ideals and a strategic vision, it feels like the next natural step on our journey towards providing our world class distribution service to an expanded independent community.”
In January 2020, Beggars Group, one of the world’s biggest independent recorded music companies, inked a US physical distribution deal with Redeye. Physical distribution duties for Beggars’ releases and catalog were previously handled in the US by Warner-owned independent services arm, ADA.
UK-born Beggars joined both Domino Recording Co. and Saddle Creek in making the switch to Redeye from January 1of that year.Music Business Worldwide