The Orchard (company)

The Orchard
Founded 1997 (1997)
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Area served
Parent Sony Music Entertainment[1]

The Orchard is an American music and entertainment company founded in 1997 by Richard Gottehrer and Scott Cohen,[2][3] wholly owned by Sony Music Entertainment and based in New York City. It specializes in media distribution, marketing, and sales and collaborates with independent artists, labels, and others to provide content worldwide.[4]


Founding, expansion

The company was founded in 1997 by Richard Gottehrer and Scott Cohen in New York, NY.

Its clients include independent artists and labels such as Daptone Records,[5] (representing artists such as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings[6] and Charles Bradley (singer)[7]), Cleopatra Records[8] (with artists including Blackburner, Queensrÿche,[9] Sons of Hippies[10] and William Shatner) and Frenchkiss Records (Bloc Party,[11] Drowners,[12] Les Savy Fav,[13] Local Natives[14]), who partnered with The Orchard in 2012 to create Frenchkiss Label Group in addition to their digital and physical deals with the company.[15] In 2014, the partnership expanded even further with The Orchard's acquisition of both Frenchkiss Records and Frenchkiss Label Group.[16]

Some artists have signed individual deals with The Orchard. They include Dionne Warwick,[17] Adrian Younge,[18] Tracy Lawrence, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,[18] Boyz II Men,[19] who released their album of re-recorded classics “Twenty” in 2011, Simply Red[20] and Rhett Miller.[21] Additionally, The Orchard distributes the music of Sesame Workshop[22] and the non-profit cultural catalog of Smithsonian Folkways.[23]

The company also licenses music for use in advertising, television and film. Heineken,[24] Target, Southern Comfort,[25] and the LU family of brands[26] have used songs from The Orchard’s catalogue in their advertisements. The Black Angels' "Yellow Elevator #2"[27] and The Raveonettes' "Aly, Walk With Me"[28] were featured on True Blood, Frankie Avalon's "Venus" was played on Dexter, the Dum Dum Girls' "Coming Down"[29] and Kina Grannis’ "The One You Say Goodnight To"[30] were heard on season 5 of Gossip Girl and various artists from The Orchard's catalog were heard throughout Season 2 of Vice on HBO.[31] Songs distributed by The Orchard that have made it into film soundtracks include Faye Adams' "Hurts Me To My Heart"[32] and Mozart's "Rondo No. 2 in C Major for Violin and Orchestra, K.373: Allegretto Grazioso" in Lee Daniels' The Butler[33] The Red Army Choir of Alexandrov's "Soviet National Anthem" in X-Men: First Class,[34] Frankie Avalon's classic "Swingin' on a Rainbow" in The Help[35] and Macon Greyson’s "Black Light" in The Wrestler.[36]

The company has offices in New York City,[37] London,[38] Barcelona,[39] Hamburg,[40] Paris,[41] Sydney,[42] Singapore,[43] and other countries around the world, amounting to operations in more than 25 markets globally.

Merging with IODA and sale to Sony

Main article: IODA

On March 5, 2012, Billboard reported that IODA and The Orchard were merging, with Sony Music Entertainment serving as a strategic investor in the combined entity. The report suggested that Sony, which already owned 51% of IODA, would accelerate the acquisition of the remainder of the company to complete the deal with the Orchard. The following day, IODA and The Orchard announced an agreement to combine their global digital distribution businesses in a merged company called The Orchard. Sony, which owned 50% of the new venture, had the option to buy the remainder of the merged company at a later date.[44][45] In March 2015, Sony acquired the remaining 49% of the company it didn't own from Dimensional Associates, making The Orchard a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment.[46]

YouTube programming

The Orchard's YouTube multi-channel network has more than 1,000 channels across the globe and uses technology, built in-house, called B.A.C.O.N. (Bulk Automated Claiming on The Orchard Network) to crawl, claim and track YouTube videos to monetize for their clients.[47] It was ranked 7th in the U.S. in July 2014.[48]

YouTube users have expressed concerns about The Orchard claiming copyright ownership of music used in user-generated content that may or may not belong to them. According to an article by The Orchard on their Daily Rind blog,[49] if audio is matched to a particular copyright owner via YouTube's content identification system, then one or more links will be placed under the video in order to help promote the copyright owner's music, with the video remaining available. The article states that erroneous claims are removed by The Orchard Team after review upon email communication with their dispute department.[49]

In this context, The Orchard has been criticized by YouTube users for claiming content that is not theirs or in some cases, content that did not exist within the video at all. In a blog post on The Daily Rind, The Orchard explains that this is due to YouTube's automated Content ID matching and outlines steps for resolving this scenario.[50][51][52][53][54]

It also appears that The Orchard is claiming copyright ownership rights against videos of artists under one of the participatory label. A recent example is videos containing the instrumental song "Darkness and Frost" by the band Wintersun, which is under contract with Nuclear Blast. Many videos, including promo videos, on both the band's official YouTube channel and members channels, have been subject to copyright ownership claims.[55][56] This occurs because Nuclear Blast artists are distributed by The Orchard[57] and as such the company claims the content created by Nuclear Blast artists so that it can be monetized and the artists can be paid for advertising placed on the video.[58][59] This policy means The Orchard does not typically block or remove videos, as they state: “Please know that The Orchard does not intend to sue you and, in most cases, will not be removing your video.”[59]

Distributed labels

Some of the better known record labels distributed by The Orchard are Cleopatra Records, Daptone, Eclipse Records, Versatile Entertainment, Frenchkiss Records, Pure Noise Records, Lamon Records, Mancini Entertainment Group, Nuclear Blast Records, Relapse Records, Sesame Street, Hope Music Group, Shrapnel Records, TVT Records, MCM World Media, Silent Records, Kult Records, UGF Entertainment, and Shoot to Kill Music, Heaven Music, The Spicy Effect, FM Records, Deck of Cards Music, The Spicy Effect, MLK - Chromodiastasi, Sosa Music Group and Alpha Records in Greece, ElRow Music, Cultura Rock Records in Spain, and Atypeek Music in France.[60]

Film distribution

In 2015 The Orchard began distributing films theatrically.[61] Prior to releasing films theatrically, the company originally released straight-to-video on demand titles.[62] In June 2015, the company set a seven film deal with the Duplass brothers, Mark Duplass, and Jay Duplass.[63] They also distributed the documentary Cartel Land, which went on to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2016.[64] In September 2016, The Orchard announced a film transparency platform to help independent filmmakers get more data around rentals, streams and purchases as well as projections for when a film will break even and start generating profits.[65]


Available in English, French, German, Polish
Founded June 2006
Founder(s) Stephen O'Regan, Tom Millett, Pauline Freeman
Key people Stephen O'Regan (President and CEO)
Industry Dot-com company
Current status Active

In 2014, The Orchard acquired online music channel BalconyTV.[66] BalconyTV features acoustic performances of musicians playing on balconies around the world. The sessions began in Dublin in June, 2006. Since then, BalconyTV has hosted over 12,000 shows on balconies in 50+ cities and 25+ countries worldwide. Shows include performances from acts such as The Script, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Mumford & Sons, Vance Joy and more.

BalconyTV is a daily online viral music show that features bands, musicians and other variety acts on balconies around the world. It was founded in Dublin, in June 2006. Videos on BalconyTV are archived on a number of major online video distributors.

BalconyTV became Ireland's first official YouTube partner. Finding quick success, BalconyTV won the Best Music Website at the Irish Digital Media Awards 2007,[67] and earned a nomination for the Best Viral Video Content at the Webby Awards in 2008.[68][69]

BalconyTV operates from locations in Dublin, Tralee, London, Hamburg, Lisboa, Porto, Tokyo, Budapest, Buenos Aires, LA, Nashville, Auckland, Poznan, New York, Tel Aviv, Kaunas, Brighton, Austin, Toronto, Paris, Prague, Zurich and Delhi, with more locations on the way.

BalconyTV has featured and supported hundreds of up-and-coming performers, along with many established and recognized acts such as The Script,[70][71] Destrossat,[72] Mumford & Sons,[73] Bugo,[74] The Temper Trap,[75] Nouvelle Vague,[76] Blue Rodeo,[77] The Border Surrender,[78] Brian Kennedy,[79] Nizlopi,[80] Aslan,[81] Buzzcocks,[82] Biffy Clyro,[82] Freddy Mullins,[83] Brasstronaut, Little Green Cars,[84] The Coronas and Antonia Vai.[85] There are over 6500 videos archived, 30 million video views, with an average of over 4000 views per video.

BalconyTV was founded by filmmaker Stephen O'Regan, and musicians Tom Millett and Pauline Freeman.[86] O'Reagan and Millett were flatmates on Dame Street, and began hosting the show from their balcony there.[87]


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