The Alternative Distribution Alliance is taking measures to boost its international capabilities by adding staff and adding the Warner Music Group local teams around the globe to its efforts.
In another move, ADA has signed a “partnership” deal with Mute to handle North American physical and digital distribution for the renowned indie label.
“For the past 35 years, [Mute founder] Daniel Miller and the Mute roster have epitomized the independent label spirit, leading the way in fearlessly signing groundbreaking artists that not only span genres, but have often created them,” ADA Worldwide senior VP of A&R and label services Kenny Weagly said in a statement. “All of us at ADA are thrilled to be partnering with a true beacon of the independent music community, and we’re looking forward to working with everyone at Mute as they continue to champion artistic freedom and creativity.”
While handling many different music genres, Mute was notably early on electronic music. Its roster has included acts like the Normal, Fad Gadget, DAF, Plastikman/Richie Hawtin and Speedy J, as well as present day hybrid electronic artists such as M83 and Goldfrapp. While a chunk of the Mute catalog was sold to EMI (and subsequently sold to BMG), the label, also previously distributed by EMI’s Caroline, still looks after a catalog of seminal electronic artists such as Can and Cabaret Voltaire.
Meanwhile, ADA has strengthened its senior management staff by promoting Brandon Squar to worldwide senior VP of digital strategy and revenue from VP of digital sales and marketing, and has hired Tatia Adams Fox, formerly VP of marketing at Universal Motown, as senior VP of marketing. These moves “underscore our core goal of generating worldwide fan awareness on behalf of our artists and label partners,” ADA worldwide president Mike Jbara said in a statement.
Fox and Squar join a management staff that, in addition to Jbara and Weagly, includes ADA worldwide chief operating officer Ari Taitz and ADA U.S. president David Orleans. Moreover, Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein continues to be on the lookout, particularly in emerging markets, for new labels to distribute.
Beyond those appointments, Jbara reports that the company has grown its international team dramatically. As part of that, “we have been transitioning away from third-party service relationships and integrating ADA into a singular worldwide group coordinating and working with the WMG international team.”
The enlarged ADA staff serves as a liaison between its distributed labels and the WMG teams in countries around the world. “We have ADA people working with the ADA artist and labels on their plans, and then we make sure every Warner team in each country executes the plans on their behalf,” Jbara says. “We are operating as a label group to the Warner International system.”
But, Jbara adds, he realizes one size doesn’t fit all — so if warrented, ADA or its distributed labels may tap into indie promotion or marketing experts in individual territories to complement the ADA staff and WMG international team.
In addition to using local WMG teams to work ADA records in their respective markets, the new set-up allows the ADA team to communicate to its distributed labels local intelligence from each local market. So for example, Squar’s team can work with each ADA distributed label to put digital strategy together and then can reach out to the WMG digital team to help the local WMG international teams in developing artists and projects.