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Downtown Music snaps up CD Baby as part of AVL acquisition


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Downtown Music Publishing’s parent firm is acquiring AVL Digital Group, the company that includes distributors CD Baby, DashGo and Soundrop, as well as video-monetisation outfit AdRev.

In its announcement of the deal, Downtown noted that AVL’s companies work with more than 900k artists, labels and rightsholders, while distributing / making money for more than 10m tracks in the digital-music world.

The acquisition is expected to close in April, and while Downtown didn’t reveal a figure, MBW’s sources suggest that it could be a $200m transaction.

It’s not buying AVL’s physical-product divisions Disc Makers, BookBaby and Merchly: they’re being bought out by the Disc Makers management to form a separate company, although they’ll still work closely with AVL’s digital teams under Downtown (for example: for artists offering digital and physical music / products).

CD Baby is the element making most headlines this morning: the distributor recently announced that it generated “well over” $100m of earnings for its clients in 2018, representing year-on-year growth of 25%.

The acquisition news is the latest example of consolidation in the music-distribution market: although unusually for recent history, it will see an independent distributor staying independent, rather than being bought by a major label.

Stuart Dredge

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