Warner Music Group and the independent labels have an interesting relationship.
On the one hand, they are intense rivals: last year, according to a new WIN report, the independent sector claimed a 37.6% share of the global recorded music market by ownership, heaping pressure on its major rivals.
From another perspective, they are awkward allies: Warner is currently in the process of divesting $200m+ of assets from its purchase of Parlophone Label Group in Europe to the independents as part of an agreed power share.
They are also business partners: Warner’s ADA is one of the biggest distributors/services partners of indies around the world and especially in the US, where it claimed a near-20% market share by distribution last year.
Now ADA, no doubt conscious of giving itself a competitive edge on Sony’s RED and Universal’s Caroline, is cosying up to the indies even more.
Richard James burgess, A2IM
Warner’s distribution and services division has agreed to take care of membership fees to A2IM (The American Association of Independent Music) for its label partners.
Although in a release this was euphemistically phrased as “managing financial dues”, it no doubt really means that WMG will sort payment to A2IM as one of the services it offers independent label clients – and then recoup this money as sales come in down the line.
A2IM label member fees start at $1,000 for the smallest indies, all the way up to $30,000 a year for the largest. (The figure the indies pay is based on market share – you can see A2IM’s full membership pricing list below.)
Richard James Burgess, CEO of A2IM said: “This partnership is a complete no-brainer for us.
“We love that we’re able to now offer this benefit to our members in the hopes that it makes business easier for all.”
Burgess has experience of working with ADA: he previously ran Smithsonian Folkways, a client of the Warner company.
Eliah Seton, ADA Worldwide
Eliah Seton, President of ADA Worldwide, commented: “We’re always looking for the most efficient ways to assist our label partners and this program with A2IM allows us to remove one more thing from their plates and let them concentrate on what they do best, developing and nurturing amazing talent.
“We are also very proud to help support and strengthen such an important advocate for the indie community in A2IM.”
ADA’s independent label clients include Alligator, Bar None, Beggars Group, BMG, Comedy Central, Domino, Dualtone, Epitaph, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (pictured), Matador, Merge, Mute, Nettwerk, New West, Real World, Rise, Secretly Canadian, Sumerian, Sub Pop, Tommy Boy, Vice, and many others.