Carving a Niche in Digital Music Distribution
The Orchard's early insight into digital distribution of music is proving bountiful -- and helping independent musicians get on the radar.
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In the late 1990s, when having a dial-up line wouldn't get you laughed out of the room and iTunes was just a glimmer in Steve Jobs' eye, Richard Gottehrer, a distributor of independent music to online retailers like Amazon and CDnow, began adding digital distribution rights to the contracts he offered. At the time, no one blinked an eye. The music industry was skeptical that digital downloading would ever usurp CDs and physical media as the kings of music.
They were wrong. Analysts now predict that music downloads will surpass CD sales for the first time in 2012. And Gottehrer, whose digital distribution powerhouse The Orchard has the rights to distribute about 2.5 million tracks from nearly 11,000 clients (roughly 20 percent of the music available on iTunes)--including the records of recent Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding and more than 100 previously unavailable Sesame Street albums--is seen as one of the music industry's visionary entrepreneurs.
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