Eight months after its launch, Heard Well has secured a deal that signals its expansion into new territory. The music label, co-founded by YouTube star Connor Franta, has partnered with Sony Music Entertainment’s Red Distribution, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Red offers distribution and marketing within the Sony Music brand, and by teaming up with it, Heard Well will gain access to a handful of promotional tools as it expands its business. So far, the digital media stars who have released albums through Heard Well — Franta, Lohanthony, Amanda Steele, and Jc Caylen — have curated compilations of up-and-coming artists rather than recording their own music. The Red deal suggests Heard Well’s portfolio will expand to include original acts, who will receive radio airplay and digital promotion.
“To date, Heard Well has been a licensing business,” said Andrew Graham, a Heard Well co-founder alongside Franta and Jeremy Wineberg. “But at the end of the day we want to be in the business of breaking new acts. Our relationship with Red is unique because we have a whole array of products that we can lean into as we start to scale this part of our business.”
The deal has some enticing incentives for Sony Music as well. Heard Well’s albums, driven by the social media influence of the digital stars behind them, have tended to sell well. By teaming up with the label, Sony will be able to prominently feature its own up-and-coming acts within future compilations, thus providing those artists with crucial exposure.
Franta, who counts 5.3 million subscribers on his primary YouTube channel, is the only creator who has released multiple albums through Heard Well. His latest compilation, Common Culture Vol. 4, arrived last Christmas.