Business News Deals Labels & Publishers

Sony Music’s Red Essential to merge with Sony Music’s The Orchard

By | Published on Thursday 1 June 2017

The Orchard

Just the other day I was writing out a list of the distribution and label services businesses operated by the major record companies for a slide to be used in a seminar on the UK record industry.

The formatting of my bullet points meant that I wrote “Sony, Universal, Warner” on one line and then listed each major’s respective label services unit on the next. The implication being that the label services units were listed in the same order as the major music firms which owned them, so to communicate which one was owned by Sony, which one by Universal and which one by Warner.

But – I immediately thought – Sony Music has two distribution and label services businesses. Fuck, that’s going to confuse my system. Because if I write The Orchard, Red Essential, Caroline, ADA – well, what does that mean? People might think I mean Sony owns The Orchard, Universal owns Red Essential, Warner owns Caroline, and ADA is just some mysterious code randomly inserted at the end of the line. What a calamity, I thought!

I spent many hours musing over possible solutions. If I put Sony last in the first list, and then The Orchard and Red Essential at the end of the second list, would it be obvious that I meant Sony owned them both? Maybe I could change my formatting entirely and put the name of the major which controls each services business in brackets after its name, but frankly that would look shit. I mean, really shit. And no one wants that.

After much consideration I decided there was only one suitable solution. The Orchard and Red Essential in the UK would have to merge. And so, this morning Sony Music confirmed that its two distribution and label services businesses in the UK – The Orchard and Red Essential – would be merging. Phew, everything is now fine.

The new company won’t be called An Essentially Red Orchard, despite that being a super name for a company, and will instead be known moving forward as simply The Orchard. So, no time at all wasted designing the Red Essential logo when Sony’s Red business acquired Cooking Vinyl’s Essential business last year. The UK side of The Orchard will now be run by Red Essential co-MDs Ian Dutt and Mike Chadwick.

Says Sony Music UK boss man Jason Iley: “Separately, Red Essential and The Orchard have shown they are two great, innovative artist-focused companies. By partnering, and with the backing of Sony Music globally, the merged business will continue to provide support and benefits to independent artists and labels alike that is unparalleled in the UK”.

Meanwhile The Orchard’s COO Colleen Theis reckons: “The Orchard has always worked on a global scale. Combining forces in the UK with Red Essential to create a single company with an incredible roster of independent artists and labels allows all of our clients to benefit from market strength and a strong competitive advantage, both at home and abroad. The collaboration will create unique opportunities to market and drive revenue for our clients”.

And as for Dutt and Chadwick, they declare in perfect unison: “There is no other company that comes close to what we offer. Our team’s expertise and first-class business relationships, combined with the global sales and marketing network and cutting-edge technology, gives our clients everything they need to maximise their success”.

Lovely stuff. Do you know what’s also annoying on my slides? Music companies with slashes in their names. They are so confusing when put in a list. Yes Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV, I am thinking of you. I mean, it’s not Universal Music/Publishing Group is it? Though I do find them putting ‘group’ on the end of their name quite annoying. Sort all that out will you?



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