The Orchard has acquired fellow digital distributor IRIS Distribution, bringing further consolidation to the digital distribution marketplace, according to an email apparently addressed to IRIS-distributed labels from that company's co-founder and president Matt Laszuk. Terms of the deal and plans for IRIS employees were not disclosed in the email.

"We've seen a lot of change over the last nine years," the email reads in part. "Retailers have come and gone; 'mobile' has gone from meaning the iPod to ringtones to the cloud on your smartphone; and today labels don't just sell music, they touch every income stream they possibly can. Nine years later the music industry is transformed.

"Today we announce that we're joining with The Orchard. We've thought hard about where the industry is headed, and we truly believe that this is the best next step for our labels. Marketing, technology, and legal expertise are all fundamental at The Orchard, and we know that they have the momentum to help you succeed for the next nine years.

"I look forward to continuing to work with you. Myself as well as the staff you've gotten to know well will be here to answer questions and continue to move your music into retail and beyond."

Nine-year-old IRIS, co-founded by Laszuk and chief marketing officer Bryn Boughton, joins a growing distribution company that merged with IODA Distribution in March. Boughton is head of BlinkerActive, IRIS's interactive marketing and promotion arm. The Orchard also offers marketing services in addition to distribution of both digital and phyiscal product.

The Orchard CEO Brad Navin addressed IRIS-distributed labels in the email, welcoming them to the company and expressing an eagerness to work together. "Starting now, our expanded company in San Francisco, New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Florence is at your service," he said in the statement.

At press time, neither company had commented publicly on the news.