GMM Grammy Thais Knot With Swish

Leading Thai entertainment conglomerate GMM Grammy has struck a multi-faceted deal with Australian digital distributor Swish AmpHead which will see GMM Grammy catalog being made available in physical and digital form Down Under.

The new deal represents an extension of a 16-month old digital licensing deal between the companies. Effective immediately, Swish AmpHead is distributing 100 of GMM Grammy's titles as physical product in Australia through a network of Thai restaurants and stores as well as English-speaking music retailers.

Swish AmpHead's Melbourne-based COO Gary MacKenzie says the new deal will bring in between between $4 million Australian ($3.2 million) and $6 million Australian ($4.8 million) during its first year.

Under the terms of the new deal, Swish AmpHead will also collect the Thai company's Australasian publishing royalties, and will work with local promoters to stage concerts by GMM Grammy's Thailand-based pop acts. According to Swish Amphead, more than 70 such concerts will be staged during the next 24 months. The company is additionally currently having 1,000 GMM Grammy albums digitally re-mastered at Melbourne recording facility Studio 52 for future release.

Bangkok-based GMM Grammy claims to account for 70% of recorded music sales in Thailand. Its 400-strong artist roster, spread across some 20 imprints, includes leading Thai acts such as Nat Myria, Wonder Girls, China Dolls, Bodyslam and Chin. The conglomerate's other interests include artist management, CD/DVD distribution, broadcasting, magazine publishing, live event promotion and the 165-outlet music retail chain Imagine.

Swish AmpHead is the Australasian partner for U.S. digital distributor the Orchard. It licenses Orchard product to Australasia, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and India. Since March 2008, it has distributed Grammy product through 400 trading partners in 78 countries. According to MacKenzie, "Asia is currently about 10% of our turnover, but [long-term] we expect it to become our lion's share, given its population."

In a statement, GMM Grammy COO Krij Thomas-Sumeth Damrongchaitham said: "Swish AmpHead is a very reputable partner and is the first partner of GMM Grammy outside Thailand." He described the deal as "the first stepping stone of our international growth strategy."