Today, there are more and more artists creating music without the assistance or direction of a major music label. The Orchard, a music distribution website, helps in delivering this music to the public. Artists, like those found within the Indie artist movement, that are looking for a dependable distribution and marketing company can end their search and sign a contract with The Orchard. With services such as promotions, analytical tools, business strategies, and worldwide partnerships for both online and physical distribution, The Orchard is a one-stop marketing/distribution dream. Why would an independent artist choose any other company to handle the most important aspect of their career, i.e. getting their music into the hands and ears of music lovers worldwide?
The Orchard, a non-exclusive distributor for hire, was founded in 1997 by Scott Cohen an internationally known producer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and talent manager. In 1998, The Orchard became the first independent music supplier to distribute to CDNOW and Music Boulevard, thus establishing its status as a leader in the digital music community. In 2003, they continued their growth and supplied the largest catalog of independent music to iTunes and in 2004 were the first distributor of indie music to reach 1 million paid streams and/or downloads. It became clear to any artist in need of distribution that The Orchard offers an international presence in the music industry and a firm foundation for distribution. They connect online digital music distributors, like Napster, iTunes, and Rhapsody, with online retail stores, like Amazon. They also connect with brick-and-mortar national chain retailers and “mom-and-pop” shops.
More than just a middleman between the independent labels or artists and retailers, The Orchard offers marketing services with or without distribution. They form marketing plans designed to enhance the relationship between the artist and the fans during major events, such as new album releases, old catalogue releases, or tours. Independent labels can take advantage of a wide array of marketing knowledge including buzz generation through editorials and publicity, social media strategies, and retail promotional campaigns. They represent top selling artists and labels like Bob Marley and Green Day along with independents that attests to their capability of doing a good job. And for those that want more, The Orchard can also serve certain publishing needs; They provide publishing administration, mechanical royalty collection, and mechanical licensing.
The website for The Orchard is very user friendly. Under the “About” toolbar there is a choice labeled, “Become a Client.” On that page are several options for the type of service that you are interested in receiving from them. You choose the option that best suits your needs, whether they be distributing your own music or licensing music that is handled by The Orchard. Once you have chosen a service, a simple form pops up for you to fill out your information so that you can receive a call from the corresponding department. It is as easy as 1–2–3.
The Orchard is best suited for independent labels or artists who are already connected to a smaller label. Artists that do not have any kind of record deal or management could get lost or overlooked in the magnitude of The Orchard. Although the company does offer promotions and marketing plans, they concede on their website that they are not attempting to be a label or promotions company. They are first and foremost a distribution company with a minimal offering of marketing services. Demand is what drives distribution; it is essential that an artist have the means of generating said demand before, or at the time of, the decision to use The Orchard. An artist that has not generated demand prior to signing an agreement with The Orchard will not get the best use out of its services.
One of the leading choices for digital distribution, The Orchard is a great choice for Independent artists and labels that want to get their music to a large spread of retailers. They have been a driving force in the community of music distribution and they will continue to be a top choice for many new and established Indie artists.
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