Warner signs distribution pact with Nettwerk

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Who says you don’t need traditional music companies in the digital era?

Nettwerk Music Group, a label that specializes in indie bands such as Ladytron and Delerium, has signed a multi-year pact with Warner Music Group to distribute albums for all of its artists. The deal with Warner’s subsidiary, Alternative Distribution Alliance, includes physical and digital distribution.

For Warner, the deal is an endorsement of its relevance in a cutthroat market where independent labels and artists can strike out on their own and sell music directly to fans via the Internet. The lesson, it seems, is that technology can only get you so far, and that a well oiled distribution machine -- with hooks into a vast array of retailers -- still counts for something.

One of Nettwerk’s best known acts is a folk pop band called The Weepies. Of all bands,The Weepies would be among the most likely candidates to succeed without the help of a traditional music company; 82% of their sales in 2008 were digital.Their debut album “Say I Am You” sold more than 2,500 full-length digital copies 3 months prior to the physical CD release in 2006. Their second album, “Hideaway,” debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at No. 31 in 2008.


Nettwerk, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has released more than 400 albums over the years, including music from Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan and Old Crow Medicine Show.

-- Alex Pham

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