NEW YORK TIMES
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A Tiny Label Is Behind an a Cappella Group’s Success
By BROOKS BARNES
Published: November 17, 2013
CULVER CITY, Calif. — If you stopped 100 people on the manicured
Sony Pictures lot here and asked them to point you toward Shelly Bunge’s
office, they would most likely give you the same blank stare. Who?
Indeed, Pentatonix has become something of a phenomenon. A video showcasing one of the songs on the album, “PTX: Vol. 2,” has generated 15.5 million views on YouTube. Pentatonix has appeared on programs as varied as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and ABC’s “World News With Diane Sawyer.”
Not bad for a label that is little more than Ms. Bunge and her assistant, who handles the album artwork. “We’re all a little taken aback at what we’ve been able to do,” Ms. Bunge said. “We are basically a group of people who have other jobs.”
Ms. Bunge manages a department at Sony Pictures that acquires music for use in film and television productions. But three years ago she helped found Madison Gate to release soundtracks — 88 so far, with two winning Grammy Awards.
“We thought it might be a fun experiment,” Ms. Bunge said. (As for her assistant, Courtney Fontes: “She was familiar with Photoshop, took a couple classes and is now quite proficient,” Ms. Bunge said. “It’s hard to believe, I know.”)
Pentatonix was discovered on “The Sing-Off,” which runs on NBC but is produced by Sony. Ms. Bunge signed the unusual band to an exclusive deal.
The label, named after an entrance to the Sony lot, is not affiliated with any of Sony’s big music labels, which are based elsewhere. So Ms. Bunge toils in relative obscurity in the TV building here, reporting to Leah Weil, Sony’s general counsel.
How did Ms. Bunge celebrate? Parties in the Hollywood Hills? “I’m flying to El Paso to see some friends,” she said on Friday morning. “Glamorous, I know.”