The Orchard has acquired Frenchkiss Label Group and Frenchkiss REcords, Billboard has exclusively learned. The independent music and video distribution, marketing, and sales organization has handled digital and physical distribution for the New York-based boutique label group and the record label, founded by Les Savy Fav‘s Syd Butler, since 2011.
Butler, who started the Frenchkiss record label in 1999 (which has worked with indie strongholds such as The Hold Steady, the Antlers, Local Natives, Passion Pit, and Bloc Party), will act as vp of A&R at the Orchard. He will report to Orchard COO Colleen Theis. Paul Hanly, Frenchkiss’ general manager and director of client relations, will report to Orchard vp of client relations, Jaclyn Bertsch. He will continue to manage FKLG’s day-to-day label activities in addition to the company’s U.S. new release team.
“As both an artist and a business owner, I am proud to call the Orchard home,” says Butler, who also plays bass in Late Night with Seth Meyers‘ 8G house band. “Having worked with the company to distribute Frenchkiss for so many years, fully integrating the label is a natural next step. The access to increased scale, infrastructure and financial support will help take Frenchkiss to the next level. I’m excited to be able to tap into the global team firsthand and continue to expand the realm of opportunities.”
Adds Brad Navin, CEO of the Orchard, “What Syd and Paul have built is inspiring, and I am thrilled to have their expertise in-house. The outstanding artist roster and the label’s reputation speaks for itself. In addition to a love for great music, Frenchkiss and the Orchard share common values and business ethos. We will remain true to those as we continue to expand our reach into the ‘traditional’ industry while retaining our position as the world’s leading digital distributor.”
When FKLG left RED Distribution to work with the Orchard several years ago, Butler described the move to Billboard in his typically thoughtful, somewhat tangential manner: “We went with the Orchard fully because we speak the same language,” he said. “It’s a lame analogy, but it’s like [Frenchkiss] speaks Mac, [not] PC. People at the Orchard speak Mac, too. They’ve been so honest with me for 10 years.”