Leading independent firm Vital Distribution and its parent PIAS U.K. have established Integral, a standalone support service for indie labels.

Leading independent firm Vital Distribution and its parent PIAS U.K. have established Integral, a standalone label support service for indie labels.

Integral will function as a one-stop shop providing an advisory role as well hands-on support, focusing initially marketing - from campaign strategy to press, radio, TV, advertising and online. It plans to offer licensing support for synchonizations and compilations.

Primarily a marketing tool, Integral will offer financial assistance to take its projects forward, explains Nick Hartley, CEO of PIAS U.K. Furthermore, PIAS' extensive international channels mean a project could ultimately roll out on an international basis.

Based in London, Integral is helmed by Ian Dutt, who will combine the role with his position as labels director at Vital. Luke Selby will switch from his current role as Vital label manager to concentrate full-time for the new set-up, for which he becomes marketing manager. Further Integral staff appointments will be announced in due course.

Integral, emphasizes Vital Group managing director Peter Thompson, reflects labels' needs in the ever-challenging marketplace. He says, "What we're trying to do is to provide something that will allow U.K. independent labels a bit of breathing space and the ability to grow at a pace that they're comfortable with. And know that there is a strong administrative and marketing support available for them."

Sony BMG established in November its European label network Red Ink, and Richard Branson's London-based independent V2 Group launched in September the Cooperative Music venture. Both aim at providing indie labels a platform to exploit their repertoire.

Swedish artist José González becomes the first act to tap into the set-up, through a deal with his U.K. independent label Peacefrog. González' single "Heartbeats," due for a Jan. 9 release, has already benefited from its synchronization in a memorable commercial for the Sony Bravia LCD range of television sets. Integral will put up a "large portion" of the artist's marketing, says Hartley, which it will recoup from incomes.

Established in 1993 as a joint-venture between Revolver Distribution and Brussels-based distributor and PIAS, Vital currently provides sales, marketing and distribution services to more than 75 British labels. PIAS U.K. is a division of Brussels-based PIAS Group, whose roster includes Soulwax and Vitalic.

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