Billboard’s 2013 40 Under 40: Robb McDaniels




Founder/CEO, INgrooves


Read the article by Ed Christman on Billboard

Since acquiring Fontana from Universal Music Group in 2012, Robb McDaniels, 39, has led the integration of the company into INgrooves, which now has 150 employees and distributes more than 200 labels. Besides adding physical distribution capabilities to the company’s digital side, INgrooves has established marketing service capabilities with the creation of INresidence, which serves such acts as Mazzy Star, Big Black Delta, Kate Nash, Thievery Corporation and Primal Scream, and is just now launching a music publishing company. INgrooves also serves as the digital pipeline for UMG, so along the way last year, the company signed a deal with BMG Rights Management to distribute the Sanctuary and Mute catalogs that it acquired from UMG and began taking in EMI product that UMG acquired for digital delivery. And just to make sure McDaniels doesn’t have any spare time, San Francisco-based INgrooves expanded its product offering to include e-books, and has plans to open offices in Australia, Asia and Germany, in addition to its existing Los Angeles, Victoria, New York and London offices.

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INgrooves Launches Music Publishing Division


Create Locally. Publish Globally.

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) INgrooves announced today that the company has launched a music publishing division to further augment the suite of services available to its more than 4,000 clients worldwide.

The new division will provide INgrooves clients access to a complete array of music publishing services including direct registration and collection with societies worldwide and a suite of creative services from synchronization to A&R. The new music publishing services unit will be seamlessly integrated into INgrooves’ web-based Client Console, giving independent labels and artists complete control, transparency and visibility over their recorded music and publishing copyrights all from a centralized location. Clients will be able to access information about their catalog directly from the INgrooves Client Console, monitoring registrations, collections, royalties and synchs with the touch of a button.

“As the retail ecosystem continues to fragment into multiple sources of revenue for our clients, INgrooves is perfectly positioned to leverage our technology platform and global reach to monetize and collect from these various partners that are also paying copyright owners,” said INgrooves Founder and CEO, Robb McDaniels. “Many INgrooves artists and label clients control some or all of their publishing rights and have asked us to assist them in administering these rights because much of the data that’s needed to effectively identify and collect monies owed is already handled by our ONE Digital platform. This is a natural evolution for us.”

The new division will be headed by Olivier Chastan, former Vice-President of VP Records and President of Greensleeves Records & Publishing, where he worked with artists such as Sean Paul, Rihanna, Jay-Z, The Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Damien Marley, DJ Diplo, No Doubt, Akon, Major Lazer, and 50 Cent among others. “I’m very excited to be joining INgrooves to launch this new endeavor,” said Mr. Chastan. “I have known Robb and the team for over 6 years and am confident that we will deliver a world-class platform and service. Being part of INgrooves will allow me to build the modern and technology-driven publishing operation that I have been envisioning for years. I look forward to offering amazing service to existing INgrooves’ clients and all great writers and artists.”

INgrooves’ partner, the UK-based Sentric Music, will provide some back-end support to INgrooves Music Publishing. Chris Meehan, CEO of Sentric Music, commented: “We’re delighted to provide rights administration and platform services to the INgrooves music publishing team which will allow clients to take advantage of our international direct collection network. Our combined vision for the music rights business, coupled with the synergies between our respective technology platforms, will provide one of the most efficient and advanced music rights services available on the market.”

At launch, INgrooves is already administering more than 5,000 copyrights, exhibiting the enormous potential for this solution. This includes songs by artists such as Moby, Federico Aubele, Metis and N.A.S.A. and publishing catalogs such as Music Dealers and Jamie Oborne’s Dirty Hit Records, home to The 1975 and Fossil Collective among other artists.


INgrooves is a leader in the independent music distribution and marketing industry. INgrooves distributes digital and physical music content to hundreds of online, mobile and physical retail stores worldwide. Independent labels, management and artists seeking worldwide distribution, administration and marketing services rely on INgrooves to maximize their impact in the dynamic music marketplace. The Company’s proprietary ONE Digital enterprise software platform facilitates real-time asset management, distribution, royalty payments, sales analytics and more for INgrooves label partners. For more information, visit


Sentric Music is an award winning UK based independent music publishing company representing over 150,000 songs on behalf of 45,000 songwriters. Sentric’s propriety rights management technology manages song registration, royalty claims and accounting directly in 29 territories as well as providing multiple synchronisation outlets for rights holders. For more information visit or

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Brandon Boyd Unveils Sons of the Sea EP via INgrooves/INresidence Artist Services Today


(LOS ANGELES) Brandon Boyd, front-man of the multi-platinum rock band Incubus, released the debut EP from his new project Sons of the Sea today. Entitled Compass, the four song EP is just a taste of things to come from Boyd, who’s currently in the studio working on a Sons of the Sea full length album scheduled for release this fall.

Both Compass and the full length album will be released on Avow Records and distributed by INgrooves via their artist services division, INresidence. The four-song EP is a collaboration between Boyd and producer Brendan O’Brien. As USA Today said “The tunes evoke the sounds of the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson while still echoing Boyd’s funk-metal style, developed over 20 years as Incubus’ lead vocalist.”

“Sons of the Sea is a truly creative and musically adventurous project,” said Bryan Mead, Senior Vice President of INresidence Artist Services. “We could not ask for better partners in Brandon and his manager Steve Rennie and we look forward to an extremely productive partnership.”

Boyd’s manager Steve Rennie commented, “Although there are a lot of options for artists today, the choice for a partner in this project was very clear to Brandon and me. Bryan and his team at INgrooves offer an unparalleled distribution infrastructure coupled with the kind of knowledgeable and passionate staff that will really empower this project and take it where it needs to go.”

Sons of the Sea is already causing waves in the media. Rolling Stone debuted the first music from the project earlier this month, while USA Today just this week debuted the lyric video for “Space and Time” which can be seen HERE. Other premieres are scheduled from Mashable and

Sons of the Sea’s debut EP, Compass, is available now at all online retailers and streaming services.

For more information please contact:

Sons of the Sea Press Contact

Andrea Bussell at Shorefire at
718.522.7171 x25

INresidence Radio Contact

Michael Plen

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BMG Taps INgrooves to Distribute Mute and Sanctuary Catalogs in the U.S. and Canada


(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) INgrooves, one of the world’s leading global independent music distributors, today announced that it has been chosen by BMG to distribute its newly acquired Mute and Sanctuary catalogs in the U.S. and Canada. Under the new deal, INgrooves will provide physical and digital distribution services including sales, marketing and catalog development for the highly respected labels’ combined rosters, which include such iconic artists as Nick Cave, Moby, Erasure, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, The Kinks and many others.

“Over the last 10 years, we have built both an unparalleled distribution platform that empowers our label partners and a dedicated, passionate staff who are experts in creating value from the repertoire we market and distribute,” said INgrooves Founder and CEO Robb McDaniels. “We are pleased to have been selected by BMG after such a rigorous selection process and are confident that the INgrooves infrastructure and team will deliver maximum benefit for these two great catalogs.”

BMG EVP International Repertoire Fred Casimir said, “We are delighted to be working with INgrooves in the US and Canada to unlock the value in these iconic Sanctuary and Mute recordings.”

INgrooves will begin distributing the Mute and Sanctuary titles beginning on August 1st of this year. Some of the catalog titles are expected to be available in a digital format for the first time ever.

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INgrooves Adds Two Executives in the UK to Support International Expansion

Dominic Jones Named as Director, Sales & Marketing and Toby Peacock as Director, International Label and Project Management

Alex Branson, International Managing Director for INgrooves, a leading global independent music distributor, announced today the appointment of two executives to the company’s London-based staff. Dominic Jones and Toby Peacock join the company to head up the expanding Sales & Marketing and Client Services teams outside North America.

Dominic Jones has been appointed to the position of Director of Sales & Marketing at the company. In this newly created role, Mr. Jones will oversee all Sales & Marketing activities for the company’s international territories, working closely with labels and artists to ensure maximum visibility for INgrooves’ distributed projects. Mr. Jones’ appointment comes ahead of the company’s planned expansion into continental Europe and Australasia.

Mr. Jones comes to INgrooves after running a successful consulting business where he worked with important independent labels and businesses including Eagle Rock Entertainment, Just Music, Angel Falls Records and Green Queen Music. During the last year he also set up and ran the new European office of Nashville-based distributor, Thirty Tigers. Prior to that he served as head of Distribution at Proper Music Distribution and also spent a significant period at Pinnacle Entertainment.

“Dominic brings 25 years of experience in digital and physical music distribution and marketing,” said Mr. Branson. “His breadth of knowledge will be an immediate asset to our artists and labels as we expand the list of services internationally to mirror our successful format in North America”

Toby Peacock has been named Director, International Label and Project Management. In this newly created role, Mr. Peacock will oversee creative promotion initiatives to enhance existing clients’ sales and be proactive in bringing new labels to the company’s roster.

In addition, Mr. Peacock will act as product manager for all INresidence Artist Services projects outside of North America, working closely with the Los Angeles based services group to execute promotional plans. He will also spearhead outreach to the European manager community to source new projects for INresidence. An initial group of international projects are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Mr. Peacock spent much of the past seven years at [PIAS] Entertainment Group, the European independent music group. He served in a variety of capacities including Head of Creative and Product Management. Prior to that he was a label manager at Wall of Sound Recordings, where he also served as a product manager and various other capacities at the label.

“Toby has both the passion and the kind of vast experience that have made him a highly respected music executive,” said Mr. Branson. “We are pleased to have him aboard as we continue to expand our operations and list of services into new territories around the world.

Both executives will be based in INgrooves’ London offices.

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INgrooves Artist Services Division, INresidence, Builds Frontline Roster


Announces New Partnerships with The Boxer Rebellion, Pepper, Raheem DeVaughn, Lyfe Jennings, Primal Scream and Lenka

INresidence, the artist services division formed by music distributor INgrooves last fall, has announced the first group of partnerships with an eclectic array of artists and labels.

Established in 2012, INresidence is the in-house global marketing division of INgrooves, one of the world’s leading independent music distributors. INresidence provides streamlined access to product management, radio and video promotion, sync licensing, online marketing, publicity support, and branding and sponsorship services.

“INresidence was founded to provide centralized resources to the independent artist community who have embraced it with great enthusiasm,” said the division’s Senior Vice President, Bryan Mead. “The INresidence team provides a complete suite of services for label and artist partners looking for a passionate, fair and transparent marketing and distribution solution.”

Releases already available in stores or being released soon include:

The Boxer Rebellion (North America only)

The brand new album Promises was released in May on Absentee Recordings and nearly doubled the first week sales from their previous effort. INresidence is leading the marketing efforts which includes a major push for the first single, “Diamonds,” at non-commercial and AAA radio as well as sync licensing with two early Grey’s Anatomy placements. A North American tour starts in June and will include a stop at “The Tonight show with Jay Leno” on June 14th.


The band’s sixth studio album will be released on July 16th via their own LAW Records label. INresidence is already impacting radio with the first single “FKARND” which has early adds at KROQ (LA), LIVE 105 (SF) and KUCD (Hawaii). Velvet Hammer Management is running a PledgeMusic pre-order campaign as part of the online fan hub’s retailer deal with INgrooves.

Thievery Corporation

The Washington D.C. duo, return with their 7th studio album Saudade on September 10th. The band will be performing at several summer festivals including The Governor’s Ball (NYC), High Sierra (Quincy, CA), Calgary Folk Music (Canada) and Lollapalooza (Chicago).

Raheem DeVaughn

The GRAMMY-nominated DeVaughn, best known for his hit singles “Woman,” “Customer,” and “Bulletproof,” has completed his new album which will be released this August on Mass Appeal Entertainment. The first single, “Love Connection,” is heading into the Top 10 at Urban AC radio and Raheem will be hitting the road this summer in support of the new album.

Lyfe Jennings

R&B fan favorite with over 2.1 million albums sold, Jennings is hard at work on a brand new studio album expected this fall on Mass Appeal Entertainment. The first single, “Boomerang,” was just serviced to Urban AC radio to early rave reviews.


The inaugural release on her own Skipalong Records, Shadows, is due out June 4th. The album is a collection of songs penned while she was pregnant with her first child. INresidence has managed her global PledgeMusic pre-order campaign. Lenka will be on tour much of the summer.

Primal Scream (U.S. only)

After a five-year hiatus, Primal Scream returns with their new album More Light, featuring all new songs and guest appearances by Robert Plant and Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine. The album debuted at Number 12 in its first week of release in the UK and is set for a June 18th street date in the States.

Pepper’s manager, Velvet Hammer Management’s Graham Martin commented on his experience with INresidence thus far, “Working with the INresidence team has provided us with the support, strength and reach of a traditional label, while allowing us to remain independent. They are creative, hardworking and wonderful partners.”

Sumit Bothra, who handles The Boxer Rebellion via ATC Management said, “I’m very happy to be partnering with INresidence on The Boxer Rebellion’s Promises LP. As a highly independent operation, the band and I have felt comfortable every step of the way, knowing that the INgrooves team, led by Bryan Mead, understand our ethos and our relentless, detailed approach to getting great music heard by as many ears as possible.”

INresidence is based in INgrooves’ Los Angeles offices.

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Music Connection – Exec Profile: INgrooves Fontana’s Robb McDaniels


Exec Profile: INgrooves Fontana’s Robb McDaniels

Rob McDaniels of INgrooves

Robb McDaniels
Founder/CEO, INgrooves Fontana

Clients: BMG, Cherry Lane, Delicious Vinyl, EMG, Fat Possum Records, Ipecac Recordings, Metal Blade Records, Nat Geo Music, Nettwerk Music Group, Ministry of Sound, ReverbNation, [PIAS], Ruff Ryders Records, Razor & Tie, Skaggs Family Records, Suicidal Records, UMG, Watertower Music, VP Records, Varese Sarabande, the Lumineers, Coheed and Cambria, Sly & Robbie, Mac Miller.

BACKGROUND: Unfulfilled as an investment banker selling credit derivatives to companies like Enron, Robb McDaniels left a hefty salary behind to pursue a career in the music industry. Taking a look at the sea change occurring with digital distribution, he decided to create the ultimate delivery service. Besides offering advertising and promotion, INgrooves plays a critical role in operating the technological backbone that brings today’s streaming landscape into reality.

That Light Bulb Moment:
I formed the idea of INgrooves after seeing the impact Napster had and the fact that suddenly the fan had all this music at their fingertips, the empowerment that caused fans to feel and the sense of engagement they had with their friends in finding old hits and so forth. I began building the idea for a new type of digital record company that had, at its core, a technology platform that would automate all of the aspects of distribution and administration and allow the rest of the company to focus their energy on the creative side of the business.

All Forms of Media, Delivered All Ways:
From day one, [INgrooves] was always going to be a digital media distribution company. We started in music. We’ve since expanded into books and short-form film content. Eventually, we’ll add other media asset classes, as well. But the concept is you’ve got many different content creators and owners trying to reach many different touch points in the digital world. So you have this many-to-many relationship. Our whole business model is predicated on facilitating that relationship and making it efficient and easy.

Providing Backbone:
We are partners with ReverbNation; we’re the back office for their distribution, effectively. They offer distribution to emerging, unsigned indie artists, have that relationship with that artist, and then we do all the delivery to the music services for their product. ReverbNation offers the opportunity for these artists to get their album to 30 of the biggest digital retailers for a fixed fee. That comes through our system. Our platform, ONE Digital, is really the backbone for a large percentage of the industry. We not only do that for ReverbNation and all of our management companies and independent label clients, but also Universal Music Group in North America, so all of Interscope and Republic comes through our system to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube and so forth. We’re the distribution architecture for a large portion of the industry.

Scalable Magic:
There’s lots of magic that goes on behind the scenes. [ONE digital] is an incredibly cost-efficient, flexible, reliable and scalable platform that allows the user to control distribution of their releases. The digital supply chain is incredibly customizable and efficient. I had this idea for what I wanted INgrooves to be, but I didn’t have any experience in software development or digital media. David Kent, who’s still our CTO, was at least partly responsible for helping turn Napster into such an incredibly scalable and efficient peer-to-peer network, so David’s expertise was in building large, enterprise systems at a much lower cost than other people could. David has been the primary architect of our software platform. And we’ve always been committed to software development and engineering. A significant portion of the money we’ve raised has gone to investing in that platform. Our commitment to that side of the equation and our willingness to bet on that being the future of the industry is what sets us apart. There are others who do a few bits and pieces of the distribution supply chain, but they can’t do everything we do.

Two Units:
We have two distinct units within INgrooves. Our distribution services provide distribution and sales services generally to independent labels. Typically, independent labels have their own marketing staffs, sometimes their own sales staffs and so forth. They have larger catalogs and that’s typically a lower distribution fee. Then we have our new artist services unit. That provides distribution and sales services, but also marketing services. We have a team of 10 people that are dedicated to working with those artists and their managers directly. It’s usually a two- or three-year deal that lays out specifically what we’re going to do in which countries.

Getting IN:
You’ve got to have great music. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to make you sink or swim. We take risks, as well, on new acts. If it’s great music and you’ve got some buzz, we’ll take a shot. It (also) helps to have a great team around you. There’s a lot of work that goes into a release and that work needs to be shared. And you need to show you are willing to work hard and be engaged with your fans.

Acquiring Fontana:
I never thought I would have a separate line item for physical distribution. Physical distribution is still an important part of the business. We were at risk of losing some of our big clients, because they needed physical distribution and we didn’t have a centralized, cohesive solution for them. We had a very good relationship with Universal; they’re a minority shareholder of our company. We already had all of the Fontana assets in our system, because we handle all digital for Universal. We had a relationship with a lot of these labels, so it was an easy decision for us. We still see physical distribution as an important service. If we’re going to work the biggest records, we want to be able to do both physical and digital distribution, have all of it centralized and make it easier on our artist and label clients.

The Revenue Pie:
We’ve seen an increase of 300 percent in streaming services over just the last two years. So you’re going to continue to see the shift away from physical to digital. The mix of digital downloads to streaming is shifting at the same time. Probably by 2014, your typical artist or label will see a third of their recorded music revenue from physical, a third of their revenue from digital downloads and a third from streaming.

It’s Tougher Than You Think:
There are many ways to distribute a product and everybody’s got their own way they want to sell it. People think you just hit the EASY button and all your stuff gets distributed and the money comes in. When you want to change a price on an album or switch genre, we’re sending updates to hundreds of different retailers around the world. And all of that needs to change at the same time. There are many permutations of how an album gets managed and released. That’s one of the reasons we’re one of only two or three companies that do this on a global basis for as many products as we handle. There are not many people who are willing to invest the kind of money we’ve invested to be able to handle all of that.

What’s To Come:
We are going to continue expanding our services. It’s important, especially for the independent label community, to be careful managing costs, so we’re going to continue investing in our centralized suite of marketing services. We’re excited about expanding internationally-—Germany, Australia and Latin America. Right now, 20-25 percent of our income comes from those international markets, so it’s a great revenue source, especially for US-based labels and artists. And we’re excited about consolidation opportunities. There are a lot of great career artists that aren’t that exciting to the major labels. We think we’re building a company that can fairly represent them.

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Billboard – Questions Answered: Robb McDaniels, CEO & Founder


Billboard – Questions Answered

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MusicWeek – Viewpoint: INgrooves


The Network Effect of Digital Distribution ( PDF )

Why music companies should think about more than just the obvious online outlets for their product

By Robb McDaniels, founder and CEO of INgrooves.

I get asked all the time by labels and artists, “Why do I need a distributor to reach over 600 online and mobile outlets around the world when I can just go direct to iTunes, Amazon and Spotify and cover 80-85% of the digital market?”

While it might seem like an uncomplicated way to go, the reality is that approaching the digital market this way potentially leaves A LOT more revenue on the table than just the other 15-20%. Here’s why: the network effect of digital distribution significantly increases the probability that all of your music assets will reach their maximum earnings and fan-impact potential.

Here’s how that happens…

Let’s assume that 80% of your historical sales have come from the “Big Three” (note: the actual share of the overall digital pie can be much less and is often impacted by genre, artist location and general fan demographics). That means 20% of your current fans are enjoying your music on another retail service. If those 20 out of 100 fans each tell ten friends about your great song or album (assuming that they are telling new fans who purchase music legally), then 80% of those 200 new fans are likely to purchase your music on one of the Big Three retailers. That’s another 160 new fans that you otherwise may not have ever found! So the irony is that the fans who discover your music on some of these “other” retailers make the overall slice of the pie for the Big Three even bigger, which may serve to further distort the overall percentage of the Big Three, making the whole case for broad-based digital distribution even more difficult to get your arms around!

But there are other benefits too…

Some of the fans that find your music on the “other” retailers, or their friends that went and bought your latest release on one of the Big Three, will go to your show. Some will buy a T-shirt. Others will buy your back catalogue. Some will follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, subscribe to your YouTube channel….YouTube, wait a minute!

Which country was the fan from that first uploaded a parody of “The Harlem Shake”? Which music service did they first hear the song on? Beatport? Deezer? Who knows!?!?

The fire was lit and it triggered a fan-generated tidal wave of promotion and monetization that was not controlled by the artist, label or distribution company. What a concept – you gain control over your career as an artist by relinquishing control to your fans. Don’t dictate when or where they can enjoy your art – let them have it however, wherever and
whenever they want.

Some fans like downloading, others like streaming; some subscribe, some go a la carte; some prefer their mobile device or their game console, some prefer their home entertainment system; so why limit the possibilities of the impact your music can have on the world?

Why narrow your focus at just the time when you should be broadening your horizons?

Digital distribution pays for itself and then some; and if it isn’t doing so currently for you, then something else might be the cause because the likely culprit is almost certainly not broad-based, global digital distribution.

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Royal Teeth at INgrooves Fontana’s SXSW Party

Matt Burns & Robb McDaniels with Royal Teeth.

Matt Burns & Robb McDaniels with Royal Teeth.

INgrooves Fontana hosted a raucous party on Friday at SXSW at the legendary Buffalo Billiards.  The eclectic lineup included RDGLDGRNWake OwlMichael Bernard Fitzgerald, Royal TeethChurchill and Ivan Aloysha.

After their set, Royal Teeth took a minute for this photo with INgrooves executives:  (clockwise) INgrooves Fontana’s Co-Founder and General Counsel Matt Burns, Royal Teeth’s Gary Larsen, Royal Teeth’s Josh Hefner, INgrooves Fontana Founder and CEO Robb McDaniels, Royal Teeth’s Andrew Poe, Royal Teeth’s Nora Patterson, Royal Teeth’s Steve Billeaud, Royal Teeth Manager Bert Landry, Royal Teeth’s Joshua Wells


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