Edel Music expands to N. America

Urban to o'see new arm, section built on RED distrib'n model

German indie giant Edel Music on Wednesday said it is bowing a new North American division, Edel Entertainment, which will develop its own new musical talent as well as offering marketing and promotional support to artists on partner labels.

The new division, to be run by former Sony Music senior VP Ron Urban, will be built on the foundation of RED Distribution, the world’s largest independent music distributor, in which Edel Music purchased an 80% interest from Sony last year.

Edel Entertainment will mate RED’s distribution muscle and inhouse marketing facilities with a new, separate marketing and promotion unit, helmed by ex-Island Def Jam exec VP David Leach. RED will remain an independent entity under the larger Edel Music umbrella.

Industrial-strength marketing

The aim is to build an industrial-strength marketing operation that independent artists can use to break their work on a level previously reserved for major-label acts, Urban said.

“What was missing was there was no real way for independents to go upstream after major radio or major marketing,” he told Daily Variety. “We added another layer that can take them up as far as they want to go.”

Urban said Edel Entertainment likely will sign and develop talent on its own, but he also expects to put the company’s infrastructure to use in other ways, potentially including promotions for artists on RED-distributed labels and other, non-Edel affiliated imprints.

Among RED’s biggest indie distribution partners are Danny Goldberg’s Artemis Records, home of the ubiquitous “Who Let the Dogs Out?”; R&B/hip-hop label Loud Records; and hardcore imprints Victory Records and Epitaph Records.

Online marketing plans

While Urban demurred on whether any of RED’s labels have deals pending with the new Edel unit, a company spokeswoman said Edel Entertainment does have at least three or four new pacts in the works, including one with an online component.

Urban said Internet marketing and distribution will figure prominently in the company’s strategy, adding that Edel Entertainment already is in talks with the “usual suspects” of digital delivery, including infrastructure and digital rights management firms.

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