Some mark red-letter occasions with confetti, while the dead-serious mark it with another day at the office.
That was the deal for Lilystars Records, who in late April marked its thirteenth anniversary with, well, a game-changing deal. It was roughly around then that the Clem Castro-helmed label inked a global distribution deal with ADA Music (or Alternative Distribution Alliance), the Warner sub working exclusively with indies.
This comes on the heels of an aggressive string of releases that Lilystars launched in September of 2020, which hasn’t ceased since then. “I care less about who the artists are, where they are from, or how they look,” Castro told NME last year, adding, “As long as the sound and the music connect with my palate—even in its raw stages—my interest is piqued.”
Not even halfway through 2021, the label already sprang several singles, videos, and albums into the world, including those by Sydney tunesmith Bryan Estepa, Vancouver songwriter Dey Rose, and actress-turned-ambient-artist ADR, as well as unsung indie-pop acts Svvell. from Cagayan de Oro and Kubra Commander from Cebu.
Releases from new signings—among them indie pop aces Galaxy Lodge and Sunflower Station, alongside dream pop bands Day & Dream from North Carolina and Starry Eyed Cadet from San Francisco—are also in the offing.
The union should come as no surprise: Castro is famously driven in both artist acquisition and tapping into new markets beyond established confines, and ADA is thankfully similar.
ADA Music Asia’s Managing Director Chee Meng Tan says, “[We] and Lilystars are both committed to artists and fans alike: by connecting artists with their fans globally through music services around the world, artists will find new audience and develop new fans through their artistry, and music lovers [will be] able to discover new releases and favorites from the region.”
As for Lilystars, “Since our inception, [we have] knocked on obscurity with an against-the-flow mentality,” its chairman says, sharing that the label is his way of building “a home to grow, learn, and be heard” for kindred spirits in forward-looking indie pop. Castro also told online publication The Rest is Noise that, more than a label, he intends for Lilystars to be a “support system, curator, and community-builder.”
The Warner-owned ADA is strengthening its foothold in the region, partnering with top independent labels such as DPM (Indonesia) and KRU Studios (Malaysia), on top of maintaining global-distribution partnerships with international labels such as 12Tones, BMG, and HITCO. “ADA is able to deliver bespoke solutions to our partners. This is because each artist, creator, and even label [is] in different [phases] of their careers and have different needs,” Tan adds.
“[We’re] looking forward to more releases from Lilystars,” he says in closing.