MBW Reacts is a series of short comment pieces from the MBW team. They are our ‘quick take’ reactions – through a music biz lens – to major entertainment news stories.
On Friday (February 11), MBW broke the news that the UK’s competition watchdog – the Competition and Markets Authority – had provisionally cleared Sony Music‘s $430 million acquisition of AWAL from Kobalt Music Group.
Just three days later, on Monday (February 14), we were handed the perfect example of why Sony thinks AWAL is quite so valuable.
On that day, it was revealed (via Hits Daily Double) that long-time indie artist girl in red – aka Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Marie Ringheim – had signed a frontline record deal with Ron Perry-led Columbia Records in New York.
Since releasing her debut EP in 2018, girl in red has developed a significant and passionate fanbase in multiple territories: at the time of publication, she has over 12.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and over 2.1 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.
The Scandinavian artist has built this fanbase, for four years, as a priority artist on AWAL.
Her debut album, If I Could Make It Go Quiet, was released via AWAL (in partnership with the artist’s own World in Red label) in April last year, just one month before Sony closed its buyout of AWAL (and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights).
If I Could Make It Go Quiet went Top 10 in the UK, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands, charted at No.67 on the Billboard 200 in the US, and contained the breakout single Serotonin – a Top 10 track on Billboard’s Rock Airplay chart.
Now, girl in red has signed with one of the world’s biggest frontline record companies.
In doing so, she’s become a prime case study for Sony Music’s hope to use AWAL to spread-bet its way to A&R supremacy.