In a short decade, Robb McDaniels, 38, has built INgrooves from scratch into a dominant player in the independent distribution sector, making it one of the five largest players-with more than $100 million in annual revenue, Billboard estimates-in a business that is as old as the music industry.
Along the way, McDaniels has attracted such investors as the Universal Music Group and Shamrock Capital to INgrooves. UMG (which initially bought a 51% share of the company which was reduced to about 40% when Shamrock bought in) was attracted to INgrooves because of its technologically superior digital distribution platform, which it now uses as its pipeline to deliver its music to digital service providers.
Earlier this year, INgrooves acquired Fontana from Universal and merged the two companies into INgrooves Fontana, giving the company physical distribution capabilities as well, with UMG retaining a minority interest of about 15% to 20% in the merged entity, which now operates around the world and has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. As a result of that deal and the growing stature of INgrooves, McDaniels gave a keynote address at this year’s NARM convention, not bad for a guy whose only music experience prior to opening INgrooves was as a club DJ when he was 18.