Music and film distributor The Orchard is acquiring two leading European independent music distributors – Germany’s finetunes and Norway’s Phonofile – from holding company SendR SE. But some in the indie music community aren’t at all happy about the deal.
European digital music distributors finetunes and Phonofile will become wholly owned subsidiaries of The Orchard. The acquisition expands US based The Orchard’s local presence in its European operations.
“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.”
But Charles Caldas, the head of global independent music licensing powerhouse Merlin, points out that The Orchard isn’t exactly independent. Major music group Sony has been the sole owner of The Orchard since 2015.
“This is not positive news for the indie labels and artists affected by this deal,” Caldas comments on today’s acquisition newes. “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.”