STORY UPDATED 3.-18 @ 9:04 AM: News hit Tuesday that Quebecor-owned Distribution Select was out of the distribution business entirely, effective July 2.
One insider reports that Quebecor is now in discussion with outside distributors to handle its company-owned imprints for physical and digital catalogues and releases.
The move leaves many independent labels both inside and outside Quebec scrambling to find a new distributor for their lines.
Distribution Select, founded in 1965 and known variously through the years as Distribution Musicor, Distribution GAM and Distribution Trans-Canada, has long been the dominant distributor for French music and video titles in the Quebec market.
Distribution Select has been part of the Quebecor group since 1995. The three-month period before the end of operations is intended to allow for a “disciplined and orderly” transition" and give its clients time to find new distribution avenues, COO Martin Tremblay told Le Devoir in an interview the day of the announcement.
He added that “in an industry that has become strongly consolidated and globalized in recent years, distribution is unfortunately no longer a strategic activity for our group."
In February it was loudly trumpeted that Quebecor had acquired Audiogram, an influential old-guard label representing a catalogue of some of Quebec’s best-known singer-songwriters.
“In an industry that has become highly consolidated and globalized in recent years, distribution is unfortunately no longer a strategic line of business,” Québecor said Tuesday. “New technologies have revolutionized consumer listening habits and the shift to digital continues to transform the music industry.”
Québecor “needs to focus its efforts on growth segments such as publishing, music production, producing cultural and sporting events, operating performance venues, and discovering and promoting talent,” the company also said. Music producers “will be treated with every consideration.”
Anne Vivien, Quebecor EVP of Music Development, added that “unfortunately, this decision means some employees’ jobs will disappear.” She added “We are making every effort, together with Quebecor’s Human Resources Department, to reassign as many employees as possible to Quebecor and its subsidiaries. I can assure you that we deeply regret this situation. I thank all the employees and partners who have contributed to Distribution Select’s many successes over the past 39 years."
The move to all-digital follows a recent earnings report for the integrated media and entertainment company that showed retrenchment in its sports, entertainment and media divisions.
– Press release here.