First releases due April 5.

New York-based label group MRI has entered into a joint-venture with Ropeadope Records. MRI, whose releases are distributed by New York-based Ryko Distribution, has also reached a distribution agreement with England's Free Reed Records.

The Ropeadope deal will cover future releases, but MRI will not handle the existing Ropeadope catalog, which remains owned by Artemis Records. The first releases under the agreement are due April 5.

New York-based Ropeadope will issue its first album from jazz-fusion act the Duo, as well as a number of albums that were previously only available online. Among the latter are releases from Critters Buggin', Joey Arkenstate and a collaboration between Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte.

Founded by Andy Hurwitz in 1999, Ropeadope has previously released albums from the likes of the Roots’ ?uestlove, mixer DJ Logic, Afrobeat act Antibalas and New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Additionally, MRI will now handle U.S. distribution for Free Reed Records. Based in Derbyshire, the label specializes in creating box sets from the folk genre. Free Reed has released sets from Ashley Hutchings, Sandy Denny and Dave "Swab" Swarbrick, among others.

Free Reed has recently been available in the U.S. only as an import.

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