Independent roots label Rounder has signed an extensive international licensing deal with Decca Music Group.
With immediate effect, Universal Music Group's Decca label will release and promote a large part of Rounder's current repertoire and catalog.
Rounder, a mainstay of the independent sector since its formation in 1970, is already enjoying a profitable relationship with Decca on the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album "Raising Sand," for which it estimates worldwide sales approaching two million. Also on international release on Rounder/Decca are Minnie Driver's "Sea Stories" and Kathleen Edwards' "Asking For Flowers."
Rounder co-founder Marian Leighton Levy tells Billboard.biz: "Robert and Alison's record just shows that things are off to a very auspicious start. I think it will be good for them and us. We're very happy with Universal in North America, but this is the first time we've had a such a connection in the rest of the world."
The agreement builds on previous individual licensing deals between Rounder and Universal Music Group, including jazz-tinged American artist Madeleine Peyroux's two Rounder albums "Careless Love" (2004) and "Half The Perfect World" (2006).
The new pact also covers 257 albums from the catalog of 3,000 released by Rounder and its Zoë, Heartbeat, Philo and Bullseye Blues imprints. These include titles by Krauss with her band Union Station, Kathleen Edwards, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Irma Thomas, Bela Fleck, George Thorogood and Nancy Griffith.
Leighton Levy adds that Rounder executive VP and GM Sheri Sands "will work closely with the [Decca] folks in London to figure out which things from such a huge catalog are appropriate for which market."
"Rounder is one of the last great independent labels," comments Christopher Roberts, London-based president, Classics and Jazz International and chairman, Decca Label Group. "Decca and Universal are honored to be part of this new relationship. We're confident our new partnership will result in success, both for the catalog, as well as the many great current artists on the Rounder label."