Sony-owned distributor The Orchard has bolstered its operation in Europe with the full acquisition of two rivals: Germany’s finetunes and Norway’s Phonofile.
The move effectively means Sony has acquired four independent European distributors in little over a year: the company swooped for both Essential Music & Marketing (UK) and Century Media (DE) in 2016 for a combined price of just under £16m ($21m).
Labels distributed by finetunes and Phonofile will gain access to The Orchard’s services in over 25 territories worldwide.
Those services include physical sales and distribution, global digital marketing, playlist promotion, interactive marketing, digital advertising, synch licensing, video services, performance/neighboring rights collections, and artist royalty processing and more.
“We’re honored to welcome finetunes and Phonofile to The Orchard family. Their addition greatly enhances our local representation in two of Europe’s key digital entertainment markets.”
brad navin, the orchard
Brad Navin (pictured), CEO of The Orchard said: “We’re honored to welcome finetunes and Phonofile to The Orchard family.
“Their addition greatly enhances our local representation in two of Europe’s key digital entertainment markets.
“Both teams are extremely knowledgeable and passionate, and they do an excellent job representing some of the most prestigious and important independent labels in Germany and the Nordics respectively.
“In joining together, we believe we have an exciting opportunity to provide even greater levels of service and global reach to our local clients.”
Göttlich said: “Today is a big day for our finetunes family.
“We feel confident that our labels will be best positioned for a healthy and prosperous future alongside The Orchard, that is dedicated to serving independents on a global level.”
Manlio Celotti, Managing Director of The Orchard Europe added: “The addition of these two respected companies to The Orchard further establishes our strong service offering across the continent and beyond.
“The Orchard’s independent spirit and structure makes this acquisition a true ‘win-win’ for all involved.”
manlio celotti, the orchard
“The Orchard’s independent spirit and structure makes this acquisition a true ‘win-win’ for all involved.
“We look forward to driving growth opportunities for the expanded client base both at home and abroad.”
The move hasn’t gone down well with independent music rights organization Merlin, whose CEO Charles Caldas said in response to the news:
“This is not positive news for the indie labels and artists affected by this deal,” he commented.
“Merlin has long been vocal about our concerns that the majors, via their faux-indie imprints, are land-grabbing independents rights in order to bolster their market shares and use the value of those indie artists to extract disproportionate value from the market in their negotiations with digital services.
“That value flows only one way, and it is not to the indie labels and their artists who actually create that value.”
“Merlin has long been vocal about our concerns that the majors, via their faux-indie imprints, are land-grabbing independents rights in order to bolster their market shares.”
Charles Caldas, Merlin
The Orchard was fully acquired by Sony in 2015 in a $200m (€136m) deal with stakeholder Orchard Asset Holdings, LLC.
The major first merged The Orchard with its own IODA back in May 2012 when both were purely digital aggregators.
The Orchard, which was founded 18 years ago, has brought a number of independent labels in-house during its history.
These include TVT Records, Frenchkiss Records, Discos Joey, JDub and Xanadu.
Phonofile and finetunes merged at the beginning of last year to operate under the holding firm Sendr SE.
SendrSE is owned by finetunes founders Henning Thieß and Oke Göttlich, in addition to Phonofile shareholders such as FONO (Norwegian independent record labels‘ association) and NOPA (Norwegian association for music composers and lyricists).Music Business Worldwide