Essential & Sony Music RED merge, becoming Red Essential


Cooking Vinyl Group & Sony Music UK Agree Unique Strategic Alliance 

London, March 3rd 2016 – RED, the Sony Music UK artist and label services division, today announces the acquisition of leading independent sales and distribution company Essential Music and Marketing, a member of The Cooking Vinyl Group of companies. As part of this ground breaking new deal – which sees a UK major label buy into independent sales & distribution for the first time – a new company will be launched, Red Essential, which will be based at The Cooking Vinyl Group’s West London offices.

The integration of Essential and Cooking Vinyl’s extensive international network with the global reach of RED will offer independent labels the gold standard for worldwide access to market. Red Essential will bring together a formidable independent network and the geographic scale of Sony Music’s truly global infrastructure. The acquisition of Essential Music and Marketing does not involve any other companies in the Cooking Vinyl Group, which will remain a strong and wholly independent record label. RED’s Ian Dutt and Essential founder Mike Chadwick will assume the roles of co-Managing Director at Red Essential.

Red Essential will see the two companies combine their staff, expertise, resources and back office functions to build a ‘future-facing’ global sales and distribution company in the UK market, which will offer labels and artists a global platform alongside music expertise, a strong heritage in distribution and a ground-breaking record of tech innovations.

RED – which was launched 2014 – have enjoyed success with recent campaigns for, artists including Run The Jewels, Lower Than Atlantis and The Cribs, alongside their hub of labels including Kitsune, Downtown, Easy Life, Red Bull Records and Mass Appeal amongst others. Key milestones from Essential Music & Marketing in recent times include successful campaigns for The Prodigy, Passenger, Marilyn Manson, JME, Embrace, Seth Lakeman, Ghetts, Royksopp, Skepta and Lucinda Williams among many others.

Ian Dutt said, “We view this deal as an alliance, as a marriage of equals with both parties bringing a lot to the table. Essential has been a trailblazing company in the independent sector and our combined experience and resource mean that we can offer artists and labels a really fantastic combination of hands-on expertise and global reach alongside market leading tech solutions. Myself and Mike – who has always been at the forefront of innovation in sales and distribution – share a vision for what Red Essential should strive for on behalf of those artists and labels we represent and we are fully focused on creating a forward thinking company that can service the needs of a fast evolving marketplace.”

Mike Chadwick said, “I have known Ian for many years and have always admired his achievements both in the independent sector, where he worked for many years, and latterly at Sony Music. When he suggested joining forces it took very little convincing to buy into that vision. Together we can work on incredible music, bring together some amazing people, focus our resources and combine the best elements of what both our companies have developed over the years, whilst also looking to the future. I truly believe Red Essential offers a compelling alternative for labels and artists who up until now have lacked real choice in this sector.”

Martin Goldschmidt, Chairman of Cooking Vinyl Group said, “Eighteen months ago Cooking Vinyl Group undertook a complete audit of the sales and distribution sector and saw increasing market congestion, which was not providing real value to independent labels. Our conclusion was that our company needed to make a strategic move to offer independent labels global market access and a compelling alternative to what already existed. After discussions with a number of key players it was clear the team at RED shared our vision and that an alliance with them would be the best fit for our business, the labels we represent and our staff. This new agreement is good for Cooking Vinyl, good for RED, good for Essential and good for the independent community.”



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