Two of Canada’s leading independent distributors, Toronto’s Outside Music and Montreal’s Distribution Select, the largest independent distributor of CDs and videos in Canada, are joining forces to strengthen and better serve the independent sector nationwide.
Effective Dec. 1, the two companies will merge their sales and distribution services, while maintaining their respective offices.
In a statement, Outside founder and president Lloyd Nishimura said, “This coming year we celebrate 25 years of supporting great artists and amazing labels. We are happy to announce an alliance that will allow for continued support of our artist and label partners for years to come.”
Select vice president Christian Breton, who spent 14 years at Outside from 1995, said he has immense respect for their commitment and longevity. “I know that, as a combined force, we can enhance our label support, and maintain great service to our retail partners. We can also offer new labels an excellent alternative in both the French and English markets, particularly those that remain dedicated to a physical sales presence.”
In an email to Billboard, Nishimura said “Unfortunately seven long-time staff will be losing their jobs in this new partnership. Five people will remain at Outside Music.”
None will be affected at Select, which is owned by telecom and media giant Quebecor.
Founded in 1995, Outside, mostly a physical distributor, reps hundreds of labels, including most of the ones through Secretly Distribution, such as Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans, Captured Tracks and Constellation, and most by Redeye, including Mom and Pop, New West and Daptone. “We have individual deals with Sub Pop, Domino, Ninja Tune and K7,” he said. Outside Music is also a label and management company, which Nishimura will continue to operate alongside label president Evan Newman.
Select, which is headquartered in Montreal and has satellite offices in Toronto and Vancouver, represents a catalogue of more than 8,200 audio titles and 12,700 video titles. It is also the dominant player in the Quebec market with over 65 percent of the French music share in the province, according to the 2017 Soundscan figure provided in the press release.
Breton will continue to head up the Montreal team and oversee the combined efforts of Outside and Select. He tells Billboard, “We have our in-house label (Musicor). We have deals with many Canadian labels including Dare to Care, La Tribu, Spectra, Simone Records, MP3(Mario Pelchat), Melon Miel (Ginette Reno), to name a few. We also do international labels such as the Beggars Group of labels, Wagram, Tôt ou tard. Also doing many projects with AMPED (Alliance US),” adding, “We also do digital distribution for the majority of our distributed labels.
Added Anne Vivien, executive vice president of music for Quebecor, “This is an exciting time for independent music in Canada. While we are a business in transition, we still have a viable physical business, as well as many growth opportunities in both the French and English markets. We look forward to building with Outside and their labels and forging new relationships with labels that are looking for an exciting independent alternative.”