Distribution specialist The Orchard, which is owned by Sony, has acquired two independent distributors in the form of Germany’s Finetunes and Phonofile AS of Norway, which will each become wholly owned subsidiaries of The Orchard.
The deal will see both companies become wholly owned subsidiaries of The Orchard, expanding its presence across Europe.
Labels distributed by Finetunes and Phonofile will receive access to The Orchard’s services in over 25 territories worldwide, offering 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.
However, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, was quick to speak out against the acquisition, claiming that such acquisitions will have a negative impact on the indie market. “This is not positive news for the indie labels and artists affected by this deal," he said. "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.”
Meanwhile, Finetunes founder and authorised officer Oke Göttlich, welcomed the deal: “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, who is dedicated to serving independents on a global level.”
“We’re honored to welcome finetunes and Phonofile to The Orchard family,” added Brad Navin, CEO of The Orchard. “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.”
“The addition of these two respected companies to The Orchard further establishes our strong service offering across the continent and beyond,” said Manlio Celotti, managing director of The Orchard Europe. “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.”
Finetunes and Phonofile combined their ownership in 2016 under the SendR umbrella – a holding company that is predominantly owned by finetunes founders Henning Thieß and Göttlich. It also also includes shareholders such as FONO (the Norwegian independent record labels’ association) and NOPA (the Norwegian association for music composers and lyricists).