BMG’s indie route

Distrib'n giant bows small-scale Wasabi

BMG Distribution has formed Wasabi Music Group, an independent music distribution company that will act as a farm system for new and alternative acts. The BMG Entertainment arm has tapped independent distribution vet Lenore Lello to guide the new venture.

The formation of Wasabi also signals the latest example of BMG’s interest in exploring alternate ways of developing and breaking artists.

Wasabi, which will work with a number of independent distributors to position its releases at retail, is similar to Alternative Distribution Alliance, the Warner Music Group venture with Restless Records.

The existence of Wasabi will also better facilitate the nurturing of artists and allow closer attention to be paid to their releases.

With a smaller contingent of releases going through the Wasabi pipeline than its larger BMG counterpart, combined with indie distributors who have strong contacts at the retail level, an artist’s release can receive specialized attention, which in turn creates a better chance of the disc finding an audience.

“We’re envisioning Wasabi as a great marketing and sales tool, a way for us to get a buzz going about an artist at the grass-roots level and spreading it from there,” said Bob Morelli, veep of field operations for BMG Distribution, to whom Lello will report.

Under the new arrangement, an album will stay with Wasabi for the life of the release.

Subsequent releases from the act may go through Wasabi or be added to BMG Distribution’s release slate to open the act to a wider audience.

Wasabi-distributed artists will be culled from all strata of BMG owned and operated companies.

Prior to Wasabi, Lello spent seven years with indie Caroline Distribution. She will be based in New York and oversee a field staff of 10.

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