Indie label signs with Warner Music.

Italian indie label Sugar has signed a domestic distribution deal with Warner Music Italy. The three-year agreement becomes effective on January 1, 2006.

Sugar has been distributed in Italy by Universal Music Italy since 1995. The Milan-based label Italian is home to tenor Andrea Bocelli, pop singer Elisa, cutting-edge band Avion Travel and indie rock group Negramaro.

The new arrangement will not impact the international distribution agreements that Sugar has for its acts, most notably for Bocelli, who has a licensing deal with Universal Music Netherlands for his pop repertoire and Decca for his classical output.

The label is part of the family-owned Sugarmusic holding company, which also includes music retailer Messaggerie Musicali, Internet venture Sugarnet and music publisher Sugarmusic.

Filippo Sugar is president of the overall holding, while his mother, Caterina Caselli, is president of the record label and MD of the holding company.

In many respects, the new distribution deal with Warner Music marks a return for the Sugar family, who sold their CGD label to Warner in 1989. The new Sugar recording venture began in the 1990s.

In a statement, Milan-based Warner Music Italy president and CEO Massimo Giuliano said: "I'm very proud and honored to be able to work with Filippo Sugar and the Sugar family, with whom we have had a long relationship in the past. I've always considered Sugar to be one of the record industry's most creative A&R centers."

In a separate statement, Sugar said: "I'm sure that, together with Massimo Giuliano and his team, we'll be able to maximise the creative abilities of both companies and to find new ways of getting people to buy music again, whether it be in record shops, or wherever new technologies will take us."

London-based Warner Music International chairman and CEO Paul-Rene Albertini, added: "This agreement marks our company's commitment to the artistry of our business. Collaborating with Sugar, we will leverage the combined creative strength of two major players in Italy to develop and distribute our artists and music."