EMI Music Canada has inked a deal with Montreal-based Distribution Fusion III Inc. that both companies say will target "growth, customer service and enhancement to artist and label services."

The deal will see EMI assume fulfilment responsibilities for Fusion's new release and catalog business in both physical and digital releases throughout Canada, as well as taking over warehousing and administrative capacities.

EMI will also provide TV/film synchronization and music placement for Fusion, and office space in Toronto. The two companies began working together in 2007 when Fusion began representing EMI's French repertoire. The latest partnership was characterized as a "natural evolution," both labels claim.

Like most Canadian independent distributors, Fusion has a large focus on non-local artists. However, the company also distributes and runs Justin Time Records, a prominent Canadian jazz label, as well as Secret City Records, a label that has seen considerable success in the past few years with high-profile releases by Patrick Watson and Plants & Animals.

"We are very proud to be working with Deane Cameron and his staff at EMI Music Canada," said Jim West, president of Distribution Fusion. "The opportunities and synergies derived from this alliance will be of great benefit to both parties. We are looking forward to many great years of business together in both the physical and digital worlds."

As part of the deal, Fusion will continue to operate and focus on product management, sales, marketing/promotion and publicity for its roster of distributed labels, while it will be EMI's role to augment all services currently being provided by Fusion to their business partners, the companies say. EMI will act as an extension of Fusion's existing sales force, providing greater retail coverage, the company notes, and Fusion can access EMI's distribution for releases outside of Canada.

"The Wests have long since been a powerful force in the Canadian independent music business where they have an impressive track record," Deane Cameron said in a news release. "This is a long term multi-faceted deal which will benefit the two companies involved, along with many local and international labels and the Canadian artist community."