Glassnote Records Inks Distribution Deal With The Orchard Following AWAL Tie-Up

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Glassnote Records’ Mumford & Sons performing live. Photo Credit: Stefan Schäfer

Indie label Glassnote Records has inked a “global distribution partnership” with Sony Music Entertainment’s The Orchard.

Glassnote Records and The Orchard (which finalized a pact with Nas’ Mass Appeal in May of 2021) unveiled their distribution tie-up via a formal release today. Founded by Daniel Glass 15 years back, Glassnote is the current label of Mumford & Sons and Chvrches, having previously been the professional home of Childish Gambino.

For much of its history, the indie label – whose founder quietly partnered with Warner Chappell on a publishing venture late last year – turned to Universal Music Group (UMG) for its distribution needs. However, 2018’s final quarter saw Glassnote jump from UMG to AWAL, which belonged to Kobalt at the time.

And by dropping $430 million to become the owner of AWAL (as well as Kobalt Neighboring Rights) – a purchase that elicited scrutiny from government officials and many in the music industry – Sony Music evidently set the stage for a union between The Orchard and Glassnote Records.

Today’s deal will see the SME subsidiary “provide the indie giant’s full artist roster with a worldwide network of services and capabilities,” according to the involved parties. Said parties didn’t elaborate upon the nuances of the agreement in their formal release, but Daniel Glass and The Orchard CEO Brad Navin addressed the contract in statements.

“The Glassnote Records team has built a home for artists that supports and cultivates creativity,” relayed the nearly 20-year Orchard veteran (and 13-year CEO) Navin. “As a strategic partner, The Orchard will continue to empower and reinforce their creative vision, and help all artists under the partnership expand their reach in international markets.”

“The Glassnote Team is thrilled to be working with The Orchard,” added Glass. “The global reach and expertise of their team in both digital and traditional distribution will be an asset to our talented roster and the slate of incredible releases we have coming.”

Regarding the “global reach” of The Orchard, it’s worth noting in conclusion that the SME division kicked off 2022 by making several executive hires in Africa, where the major labels are looking to broaden their respective operations. Earlier this month, for instance, UMG rolled out Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Africa.

Separately, Sony Music in December of 2020 acquired distribution and artist-services company Human Re-Sources – and promptly folded it into The Orchard. Mid-April of 2022 then saw Human Re-Sources open a “communal workspace” in Atlanta, complete with a pair of recording studios.