The Orchard today announced the promotion and hiring of two key executives to lead strategy for the Company’s offices in New York and Nashville. Mary Ashley Johnson has been elevated to Executive Vice President, Sales and Artist & Label Management, U.S. and Canada. Katie Studley has been named Vice President, Nashville. They are based in New York and Nashville, respectively. Both will report to Colleen Theis, The Orchard’s Chief Operating Officer.
Collectively, both executives will provide local distribution expertise, release strategy, and regional support to The Orchard’s extensive roster of artist and label clients, while focusing on expanding their reach to global audiences.
As SVP, Sales and Artist & Label Management, U. S. and Canada, a post Johnson held since 2019, she has driven revenue and market share for The Orchard to record highs, while managing teams responsible for client relationships and high level strategy on key releases across the territories. Johnson will continue that trajectory in the EVP position. Prior to joining The Orchard, Johnson spent over 28 years as an employee under the Sony Music umbrella, including 11 years at RED Distribution which was incorporated into The Orchard in 2017.
Johnson said, “I look forward to continuing to deliver record-setting success in both market share growth and artist development for The Orchard and providing best in class service to our clients.”
As The Orchard Nashville’s Vice President, Studley will oversee the office’s day to day operations. Her responsibilities include developing new business relationships as well as providing on the ground support to existing clients in the market, further expanding the company’s presence in Nashville. She will be instrumental in driving The Orchard’s mission of empowering independent creators and entrepreneurs.
“I am equally excited to develop new relationships within Nashville’s independent creative communities as I am honored to foster growth for the Orchard’s incredible existing roster. I’ve long appreciated the Orchard’s quality of service and the good people behind it, and I am proud to join their impressive global organization,” said Studley.
Studley joins the Orchard team from a ten year tenure at Jack White’s Third Man Records where she acted as VP, Operations and Marketing Director. In her roles, she assembled a record breaking label team, strategized the diversification of Third Man’s operations, and worked on album campaigns for artists including Margo Price, The Raconteurs, Sleep, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, and more. Previously, Studley worked in artist development and marketing at a nascent Thirty Tigers, contributing to the rapid growth of artists like the Avett Brothers and Jason Isbell. Both Third Man Records and Thirty Tigers have distribution agreements with the Orchard.
“We are proud to appoint these two well-deserving women to key executive roles in the company,” said Theis. “Mary Ashley’s leadership, business savvy, and proven expertise has led The Orchard to unprecedented heights in 2022. In her newly expanded role, she will spearhead even bigger opportunities for our artist and label partners. We’re excited to welcome Katie to The Orchard family. As an instrumental partner on the client side, she comes to us with a deep understanding of our business strategy. Her relationships in the Nashville market and beyond will help us further connect local artists and labels to global audiences.”
In addition to the new executive promotions, The Orchard celebrated its 25th year with record breaking successes. In 2022, The Orchard had chart-topping debuts from Bad Bunny Jack White, Nas, $uicideboy$, Blxst, Bizarrap, Sturgill Simpson, and Kelsea Ballerini. The Orchard also delivered over 200 Billboard Top 200 releases; its distributed artist and label clients had over 518 billion total streams, and the company’s market share hit an all time high.