The Orchard today announced the strategic acquisition of Above Board, a dance and electronic music distribution and artist/label services company. As part of the agreement, Above Board’s roster will have access to The Orchard’s full suite of global distribution and artist and label services. Additionally, The Orchard’s existing clients in the genre will benefit from the expertise Above Board brings to the Company. London-based Above Board Founder and Managing Director Dan Hill will report to The Orchard’s Managing Director Ian Dutt. The team is now based in The Orchard’s UK headquarters.
The partnership marks a new chapter for Above Board. Since its inception in 2007, Above Board has played an integral role in developing some of the UK and Europe’s most prolific electronic music artists including Peggy Gou, Charlotte de Witte, Patrick Topping, Jamie Jones, and Maceo Plex. The Orchard’s infrastructure will enhance Above Board’s already robust service offerings to include cutting-edge technology and supply chain, digital and physical distribution, analytics and business development opportunities, advertising, publishing administration, neighboring rights, and the global reach of teams operating in 45 territories worldwide. In his role, Hill will continue to sign and develop global dance/electronic talent for Above Board, adding to The Orchard’s roster as the Company grows its global footprint in the genre.
Of the partnership, Hill said, “The Above Board team is excited about this new chapter of our company and we are now fully immersed into The Orchard’s ecosystem. The new relationship gives Above Board the global infrastructure and resources to match our artists’ and labels’ ambition, plus gives them the platform to ensure they retain the rights to their music.”
Dutt added: “We are delighted to welcome Dan and his team to The Orchard. Their standing and experience in this genre of music are second to none. It was crucial to The Orchard that we partnered with a company entirely immersed in the culture of electronic music. Collectively we want to make a positive impact in this space by providing exciting, future-facing options for producer and DJ owned independent labels globally.”
The Orchard’s already impressive roster of dance labels includes Liquid State/Dimitri Vegas, Amtrac, TMRW Music Group, Rose Avenue, and more. Recent label signings include Perfect Havoc (UK) and Solomun’s DIYnamic (Germany), among others. These partnerships contribute to the Company’s stature as the leading distributor of EDM in the US*. The addition of Above Board to The Orchard’s family of brands along with key hires in the US and Europe firmly cements the company’s expansion into the dance/electronic music genre.
Hill founded Above Board in 2007, having worked in electronic music since his early teens. His 20-plus years of music industry experience includes record labels, record shops, events management plus club promotion and an unwavering love for the genre.
Artist distribution and services company Human Re Sources announced today the hiring of Junko Takeda as its new Vice President. Based in Los Angeles, Takeda will report to J. Erving, CEO & Founder, Human Re Sources/Executive Vice President, The Orchard. She will oversee day-to-day label relations of both Human Re Sources’ Los Angeles and Atlanta operations, and continue to build the company’s roster of artist clients with support from The Orchard.
Takeda comes to Human Re Sources from Warner Chappell Music, where she served as the Head of A&R Operations. She brings her expertise in talent relations and day-to-day operations, boasting a successful track record that spans various sectors of the music business including: radio promotions/sales, corporate communications, global digital business, artist relations, and brand integration. Previously, Takeda worked as Chief-of-Staff at RCA Records, and has held roles at Overbrook Entertainment, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, MTV Networks, and Emmis Communications (KPWR 105.9FM). Takeda has worked alongside creatives like Lady Gaga and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. She began her career in talent management.
“Human Re Sources has built a true home for independent artists,” said Takeda. “I am excited to work alongside J and the HRS team to connect our dynamic roster of talented artists with fans around the globe.”
“Junko has an amazing track record of elevating artists to the next level,” said Erving. “Having her expertise as we help artists like RAYE and Kelz reach their career goals is invaluable. We are a home for independent creatives and under Junko’s purview, will continue to provide them with the best services possible.”
In December 2020, Sony Music Entertainment acquired Human Re Sources. The company then became part of The Orchard’s global distribution and artist and label services brand. In 2022, the company opened a new workspace in Atlanta, and appointed Mark Jackson as the Head of Atlanta. Human Re Sources has signed and developed artists such as Brent Faiyaz, Cordae, YBN Nahmir, Pink Sweat$, Baby Rose, Bren Joy and added artists like RAYE, who recently solidified her first No. 1 in the UK with the single “Escapism,” Brooklyn-born rapper Kelz, Jensen McRae, and Grammy-nominated Ant Clemons to The Orchard’s roster.
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.
Rapper Inks Global Distribution Deal With The Orchard
Chart-topping Mexican rapper Santa Fe Klan scored his first AMPROFON certified gold record for the hit single “Mar y Tierra,” initially released on April 4th. The song marked the breakout artist’s first entry on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs, with over 65 million streams worldwide. Additionally, Santa Fe Klan recently signed a global distribution deal with The Orchard, a move that will provide him with access to the company’s full suite of services. The Orchard presented the artist (whose real name is Ángel Quezada), with a plaque to commemorate reaching gold status at his recent performance at Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City.
Claudia Ochoa, Vice President of The Orchard Mexico said, “We are proud to be a part of the developing history of Santa Fe Klan. Ángel is an artist with unique talent, and this recognition for “Mar y Tierra ” is the first of the many milestones we will achieve together.”
Santa Fe Klan added, “I am very happy to start this new stage with The Orchard as partners. My music is the most important thing to me, and I will always want to give my best to my fans.”
Hailing from Guanajuato, México, Ángel is an emcee capable of connecting with millions of people through his reality: that of a young man from Santa Fe (the neighborhood where he was born and raised) who explores all the vices and virtues of his neighborhood through music. Santa Fe Klan blends hip hop, Mexican rap, cumbias, accordion, and sonideros to achieve his signature “sound from the barrio.” He collaborated with regional Mexican, EDM, and pop artists, and is actively exploring other musical genres. Santa Fe Klan’s fifth studio album Mundo features ballads and piano songs including “Luka,” a lullaby for his newborn son. Harboring a deep respect for his namesake neighborhood, Santa Fe Klan owns a music studio in Guanajuato where residents – especially young men – have the opportunity to record their music for free.
In August, Mundo debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums Chart and sat at No. 11 on the Latin Rhythm Albums and in the top 20 on the Top Latin Albums chart. Santa Fe Klan is the second artist to earn a Latin Pop Albums chart Top 10 appearance in 2022 after his single “Soy” (featured on Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue EP ) landed at No. 8 on the Latin Digital Songs.
Santa Fe Klan told Billboard Magazine,“My songs are emotions and feelings that I write at the moment. Writing for me has been very simple because it’s my truth.”
About The Orchard:
The Orchard, now in its 25th year, is a full-service music distribution company operating in more than 45 cities worldwide. The Orchard’s comprehensive artist & label services offering harnesses innovative technology, transparent data analysis, and expertise to reach fans and grow audiences. Offerings include digital and physical sales and marketing, advertising, sync and brand partnerships, rights management, video monetization, collaborator splits and royalty accounting, publishing administration and more. Championed by an exceptional community of music lovers and experts, The Orchard empowers creators and entrepreneurs to grow and adapt in the dynamic, global industry. For further information, visit www.theorchard.com
The Orchard today announced Magic Star will become its official global division of children
and family entertainment. Under the new partnership, Magic Star’s roster of children’s brands
will have access to The Orchard’s full suite of artist and label services and global distribution network.
Originally launched in 2019 by Sony Music Entertainment UK, Magic Star developed music and strategy
for celebrated family brands L.O.L. Surprise!, The Rainbow Collections, YolanDa Brown, and more.
Will Speer will spearhead the new division as Managing Director, reporting to Prashant Bahadur,
Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy at The Orchard. Magic Star will remain in London.
The new division will expand upon The Orchard’s current children’s roster, which includes The Wiggles,
The Kiboomers, Rockabye Baby, and Kidsongs to create a robust, expanded global pipeline. Magic
Star will work closely with The Orchard to develop strategy across family entertainment and support new
“We are thrilled that Magic Star has joined The Orchard. Our expertise in the kids and family music
space coupled with the existing global infrastructure and leading technology of The Orchard will lend
itself to how we work with our artists and brands. We are looking forward to working with the labels
currently within The Orchard as well as developing new partnerships,” said Speer.
“The Magic Star team has helped build timeless children’s brands that resonate with audiences,” said
Prashant Bahadur EVP, Head of Strategy, The Orchard. “With the new division under The Orchard,
we will continue to build upon the ideas of education, culture, and digital and social tools to reach
children and families on a global scale.”
Magic Star has amassed vast knowledge of the family content marketplace. The brand’s approach to
music release strategies lies within the four pillars of discovery when it comes to kids: educational,
digital, social, and cultural. This offers brands unparalleled expertise in tailored marketing campaigns for
both audio and visual content which specifically target the family audience.
Speer continues, “Kids and family audio consumption grew tremendously during the pandemic. Magic
Star understands that the streaming behavior of children is very different from that of adults. We have a
deep knowledge of how families spend their time as well as how, when, and why they interact with audio
About Magic Star:
Magic Star is the Global Division of children’s and family entertainment at The Orchard. Launched in
October 2019 as part of Sony Music Entertainment UK, Magic Star is dedicated to children’s audio and
audiovisual content from pop music and spoken word to live events for the whole family. Magic Star’s
partner offerings include music engagement & marketing strategy, video creation, distribution, brand
partnerships, spoken word production and press/publicity campaigns. www.magicstarkids.com.CLOSE
The Orchard and Glassnote Records today announced a global distribution partnership. Under the agreement, The Orchard will provide the indie giant’s full artist roster with a worldwide network of services and capabilities. Started in 2007 by Daniel Glass, Glassnote Records is home to Grammy Award-winning acts like Mumford & Sons and Phoenix, as well as CHVRCHES, AURORA, Two Door Cinema Club, Daughter, and more. The label originally joined RED Distribution, a subsidiary of Sony Music Group in 2008 and now returns to the Sony Music Group family with The Orchard partnership.
Within the last decade, Glassnote Records garnered success with releases like the Grammy-Award Winning Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009) album by French indie pop band Phoenix; Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More (2009) and Babel (2012), which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2013; and Childish Gambino’s Camp (2011) Because The Internet (2013) and Awaken My Love (2016) albums.
“The Glassnote Records team has built a home for artists that supports and cultivates creativity,” said Brad Navin, CEO, The Orchard. “As a strategic partner, The Orchard will continue to empower and reinforce their creative vision, and help all artists under the partnership expand their reach in international markets.”
“The Glassnote Team is thrilled to be working with The Orchard,” said Daniel Glass, President & Founder, Glassnote Records. “The global reach and expertise of their team in both digital and traditional distribution will be an asset to our talented roster and the slate of incredible releases we have coming.”
Glassnote Records is the proud home to Grammy Award winning Phoenix, Grammy Award winning and multi-platinum selling Mumford & Sons, CHVRCHES, AURORA, Two Door Cinema Club, Hamilton Leithauser, Ripe, Daughter, Flight Facilities, The Strumbellas, Dylan Cartlidge, Jade Bird and more. Glassnote has been hailed as the “Best Indie Label” by Rolling Stone, “Label of the Year” at the A2IM Libera Awards, “#1 Independent Label” by Billboard and Pigeons & Planes has described them as “a powerhouse in the world of indie labels.”
About The Orchard
The Orchard, now in its 25th year, is a full-service music distribution company operating in more than 45 cities worldwide. The Orchard’s comprehensive artist & label services offering harnesses innovative technology, transparent data analysis, and expertise to reach fans and grow audiences. Offerings include digital and physical sales and marketing, advertising, sync and brand partnerships, rights management, video monetization, collaborator splits and royalty accounting, publishing administration and more. The Orchard empowers creators and entrepreneurs to grow and adapt in the dynamic, global industry. For further information, visit www.theorchard.com.
Los Angeles-based artist distribution and services company Human Re Sources announced today it will be expanding and opening a new communal workspace in Atlanta, GA. The new workspace will house two new recording studios, which will be used for artists to record music, and will provide meeting and event space.
Mark Jackson, who is currently the Creative Director for the Trap Museum, joins the company as Vice President, Head of Human Re Sources, Atlanta, reporting to J. Erving, Executive Vice President, The Orchard/CEO & Founder, Human Re Sources. As the new Head of Atlanta, Jackson will provide local expertise, and build out Human Re Sources’ roster of artist clients in the region with support from The Orchard.
Prior to joining Human Re Sources, Jackson led the A&R division for Grand Hustle Records, founded by rapper T.I. During his time, he worked with artists Travis Scott, Trae tha Truth, Young Dro, Tokyo Jetz and Doe B. With more than 15 years of music experience, Jackson lent his expertise as a consultant to EMPIRE Distribution.
In December 2020, Sony Music Entertainment acquired Human Re Sources. The company then became part of The Orchard’s global distribution and artist and label services brand. Under J. Erving’s leadership, Human Re Sources has signed and developed artists such as Brent Faiyaz, Cordae, YBN Nahmir, Pink Sweat$, Baby Rose, Bren Joy and added artists like 2Tone and Grip, Jensen McRae, and Grammy-nominated Ant Clemons to The Orchard’s roster.
“Human Re Sources has always been for the culture. I look forward to expanding its presence across the South and finding raw talent that will move the needle,” said Mark Jackson. “This workspace will offer a home for artists, and we hope to inspire creativity as well as engrain the Human Re Sources brand into Atlanta’s musical DNA.”
“With this expansion, Human Re Sources will now have an official home in the South. Atlanta is a hot bed for Hip Hop, and for some time now has been leading the charge in the music industry,” said J. Erving, Executive Vice President, The Orchard/Founder and CEO, Human Re Sources. “Having a major player like Mark, who has a wealth of experience and knowledge, will help us build vested relationships in the region and develop the best talent.”
About Human Re Sources
Launched in 2017 by founder and CEO J Erving, Human Re Sources is a formidable independent powerhouse of talent development. The black-owned Los Angeles-based digital-distribution company has quickly become a key player and ranks among the Top 10 independent distributors in the music industry. Human Re Sources is recognized for routinely shepherding previously unknown talent into major-label ready stars, as evident from their work with YBN Nahmir (two Platinum single certifications), to Pink Sweats, whose single “Honesty” was certified Platinum in July 2020, and gold singles with both Brent Faiyaz and Cordae.
About The Orchard
The Orchard, now in its 25th year, is a full-service music distribution company operating in more than 45 cities worldwide. The Orchard’s comprehensive artist & label services offering harnesses innovative technology, transparent data analysis, and expertise to reach fans and grow audiences. Offerings include digital and physical sales and marketing, advertising, sync and brand partnerships, rights management, video monetization, collaborator splits and royalty accounting, publishing administration and more. Championed by an exceptional community of music lovers and experts, The Orchard empowers creators and entrepreneurs to grow and adapt in the dynamic, global industry. For further information, visit www.theorchard.com.
On March 16, 2022, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its Final Report on the acquisition of AWAL and Neighbouring Rights. The full press release from the CMA can be found here.
This Final Report approves Sony Music Entertainment’s (SME) acquisition of Kobalt’s recorded music operations, including AWAL, a leading provider of services to independent recording artists, and Neighbouring Rights, one of the leading performance rights collection agencies for artists and independent labels worldwide, announced in February 2021.
Sony Music Entertainment said:
“We welcome the decision by the CMA to clear Sony Music’s acquisition of AWAL and Neighbouring Rights, allowing us to focus on offering the best service for their artists, in an intensely competitive market with multiple competitors and many offerings. This is the start of an exciting new venture for SME, AWAL and Neighbouring Rights, and ensures we can continue to deliver real benefits for artists globally as the music industry continues to evolve.”CLOSE