Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) was created in 1993 to focus on the independent music business, where some of the most successful artists and record labels have built their initial followings. ADA gives independent record labels access to a flexible distribution system that marries the effectiveness and convenience of a major label with the marketing sensibilities of an independent. The company's success has proven the importance of creating a national distribution system with a strong artist-development sales philosophy for the independent music industry. During 2007 ADA was named the "Medium Distributor of the Year" by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, and has been ranked the industry's No. 1 independent distributor for the past six years, according to Nielsen/SoundScan.
During 2009, Warner Music Group (WMG) enhanced its independent distribution business by combining Ryko Distribution with ADA to create an independent label service company that provides a suite of services including physical and digital global distribution, physical production, merchandise production and distribution. ADA offers nontraditional account management, a dedicated in-house music licensing function, custom products services, strategic marketing and sponsorships, as well as a variety of digital marketing tools.
ADA is recognized as the leading distributor of independent music, partnering with labels such as Alligator, Beggar's Music Group, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Domino, Epitaph, Matador, Merge, Nettwerk, Real World, Rykodisc, Saddle Creek, Secretly Canadian, Side One Dummy, Sub Pop, Taseis, Touch & Go and Smithsonian Folkways.