The Orchard’s founder Richard Gottehrer has always said “The Orchard is a place to grow.” In honor of our 25th Anniversary, we interviewed a few employees who have grown with the company since the early days. We spoke with Chris Manning, who joined The Orchard in 2008, and now leads our European teams as General Manager, UK & Europe.
What year did you join The Orchard and how has your role & team grown since then?
I joined The Orchard in September of 2008 as Operations Manager in the UK. At the time I joined, there were about six people in the UK office and about five or six in other European offices. Today, I am GM, UK & Europe. The UK team has grown to 80 team members and we have a total of over 180 people across Europe.
What was the leading format of music consumption when you started? What is the leading consumption format in your territory now?
Physical products had very much declined by the time I started in 2008. Spotify had only just launched, so really downloads were king at the time. Most everyone was using iTunes. At the current moment, streaming is the dominant form of consumption, all the way.
What artist or label excited you most when you started at The Orchard? Who’s a current distributed artist that excites you now, in 2022?
Not long after I started we were fortunate to sign Carl Cox’s label Intec, which was a lot of fun to work on. There was also a stint working a record with Hadouken – for all those UK new rave indie band fans – which was a lot of fun. Right now, rapper and singer ENNY (FAMM) is super exciting for us.
What has changed the most in the world of distribution over the years? What has remained consistent?
Over the years, there have been many changes within the world of distribution. I’d say the level of services, artist opportunities, deal types, and general technology has been the biggest changes. The whole distribution model has evolved over this time, which is hugely exciting, especially as we remain at the forefront of this space.
At its core, the music biz is a relationship-driven business. It’s key to work with our labels and artists as we maintain and build those relationships.
What advice do you have for independent artists / those who want to break into the industry?
Have a plan and goals you’ll like to hit! The options are so varied these days that the team you build around you as an artist is paramount.
What’s something you’ve learned outside of work that helps you to be your best self at work?
Patience (through golf and becoming a father!)
Do you have a fun fact or story about your time at The Orchard?
Most of the fun stories aren’t eligible to make the press cut…. ;)