The Orchard, an independent music and video distribution company operating in more than 20 global markets, has announced the appointment of Colleen Theis as Chief Operating Officer. Theis, who previously worked as Managing Director of UK & Europe, will relocate to the US from London and report directly to The Orchard CEO Brad Navin.

In her new capacity Theis will oversee all "client-facing departments" for the company's global digital and physical distribution business, including Client Relations, Acquisition & Retention, Sales & Marketing and Film, TV & Advertising. She also will continue to oversee the company's UK & European divisions.

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"Our clients will benefit from Colleen's acute understanding of international markets and executing multi-territory release strategies," Navin said in a statement. "Internally, Colleen's history with The Orchard, combined with her long term industry experience, will ensure we continue to be the premiere global distribution platform for labels, artists and filmmakers."

In other Orchard-related news, the company today announced it had signed a direct deal with Lonestar, the multi-platinum country quartet which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The band is releasing its new single "The Countdown" to digital retail tomorrow (Aug. 7) and will release a full-length album with The Orchard later this fall (a specific date was not announced).

Though the Orchard is best known for its digital distribution, the company has signed direct deals with a number or artists, including: Ryan Adams, Joss Stone, Boyz II Men, Bret Michaels, Sixpence None the Richer, Ronnie Spector, and Rhett Miller.

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"The Orchard has rapidly become a comfortable home for the type of artist that no longer needs a major label to promote its brand," said Jason Pascal, The Orchard's VP of Licensing & Associate General Counsel in a statement. "Lonestar's multi-platinum history and huge fanbase affords the band the luxury to choose the right partners for its new record, and The Orchard's distribution platform, marketing expertise and tools are a perfect fit. We're simply thrilled to be in business together."

"Lonestar and The Orchard's relationship reflects the synergy that is the new model for what bands are doing now and in the future," Lonestar's manager, Corey Wagner added. "The band is able to pick all of its partners-management, agent, distribution, promotion-to properly promote and share their new music and intense touring plans."

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The Orchard has had a particularly eventful 2012 merging with IODA in March; and in May acquiring Iris Distribution. Sony Music Entertainment is the company's largest strategic investor.

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