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Concord To Be Distributed by UMG


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Oops, I Mean "Synergy". How could I be so careless...


Universal Music and Concord Ink Distribution Deal

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 09:00 AM

Los Angeles, CA--Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company and Concord Records, one of the world's largest independent recording labels announced today that the two companies have entered into a U.S. distribution agreement. The partnership, which takes effect on July 26, 2004, covers Concord's family of imprints, including Concord Jazz, Concord Picante, Stretch Records, Peak Records, Feinery and Playboy Jazz.

Concord Records is set to release several highly-anticipated albums over the coming months, including the final recording from the legendary Ray Charles, “Genius Loves Company,” which features 12 duets with such renowned artists as Elton John, Norah Jones, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, and Bonnie Raitt. Also on the roster is the sophomore release from 21-year-old pop/jazz sensation, Peter Cincotti, who Concord took to the top of the Billboard charts in 2003; a new recording from ever-favorite Barry Manilow; and the first recording in 10 years from the highly-regarded Chick Corea Elektric Band. Universal will also take on Concord's current releases, including chart-hit, “Street Signs,” from mega-mashers and 2004 Latin GRAMMY® nominees Ozomatli.

“Concord Records has emerged as one of the world's preeminent architects of today's adult music scene,” stated Jim Urie, President of Universal Music & Video Distribution (UMVD). “We are thrilled and honored that they will now be part of the Universal family of labels.”

“As we move into the future, we look forward to working alongside such a tremendous organization as Universal; their market-leading position and enormously talented team will play a key role in achieving our present and future goals,” says Concord President Glen Barros. “Throughout our 31-year history, Concord Records has been fortunate to have been associated with many great partners, and this new relationship with Universal is sure to be another magnificent collaboration. We are also grateful to our current distributor, IDN, for all of their efforts on our behalf. We have great respect and gratitude for their support over the years, as well as their commitment to helping us become one of leading independent labels in the US.”

“Since its inception in 1969, Concord has passionately pursued its love for jazz and adult music,” added Zach Horowitz, President & COO of Universal Music Group. “Over the years, it has created a dynamic roster of artists and collected a vast catalog of seminal recordings. Concord's recent success and growth initiatives demonstrates this unwavering commitment and love for the genre, and we expect even bigger things from them in the future.”

Universal Music Group is the world's largest music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 71 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, DreamWorks Records, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Strategic Marketing & Commercial Affairs (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

Concord Records is widely regarded as one of the preeminent record companies in the industry today, committed to offering the adult music audience inspiring, innovative and high quality recordings of jazz and popular music. With a family of labels that now includes several partnerships and imprints (Peak Records, Stretch, Playboy Jazz, Concord Picante and more), Concord has amassed a catalog of over 1,000 albums from such legendary artists as Ray Brown, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Herb Ellis, Stan Getz, Gene Harris Tito Puente, and Mel Tormé, among others. The label's current roster of world-class vocal and instrumental artists includes: Karrin Allyson, Patti Austin, Peter Cincotti, Michael Feinstein, Nnenna Freelon, Robben Ford, Marian McPartland, Barry Manilow, Ozomatli, Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, and Curtis Stigers

Make of this what you will.

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Hmm. I recently signed up with Emusic, which includes many titles from Concord. I wonder if those are going to be pulled immediately off Emusic, or shortly when some set licensing period expires, or if they will be left on the site. I'm guessing the first option, but hopefully not.

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Besides, I knew jazz was only kids music anyway. Once you grow up you get over it and start listening to - what?

I've just recently grown up and have started to explore the discography of Britney Spears (she's hot), 50 Cent and Usher.

There's a lot going on there, it's very complex and stuff like that.

You know, 50 Cent doesn't care what anybody thinks, he just does what he want's. And that's what I like, it's very inspirational.

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I'm sure those in the field can better clarify this, but I don't believe that a distribution deal is much to worry about - ECM, for example, has never been a part of one of the big guys (5 or 4 or 3 or whatever) but they were distributed by Warner Bros. at one point, then by PolyGram, then by BMG, now again by Universal if I recall correctly. But they're still ECM, their own individual company. The distributor just gets the "product" moved to the stores. They don't own the master tapes or anything.

Or am I mistaken?


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Mike is correct that Universal currently distributes ECM, so if you don't have a problem with that deal, this story shouldn't mean too much for Concord.

I still have yet to understand what the Concord-Fantasy deal means for the OJC back catalogue, though. Obviously, Concord is better than Universal in terms of who's in charge of all that material, but it hasn't really been long enough to see how they're going to handle things.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Didn't Concord go bankrupt at one point due to poor management? If I am correct in this assumption, how in the world did they get back on top of things? Was it the branching out with all the "adult" labels? Was it Glen Barros?

I feel like I'm missing something here.

Also, Concord never takes a chance these days. They are resting on their laurels. They release standards albums only with the exception of the Caribbean Jazz Project stuff. It's good music - much of it, but they're certainly not taking any risks with up-and-coming instrumental improvisers which it seems they could afford to make with the catalog they have just from Concord's vaults alone. (Marian McPartland, Rosemary Clooney, and Michael Feinstein alone could carry that burden, not to mention Playboy Jazz). What gives?

Finally, could the Concord-Fantasy deal mean that the Fantasy reissues will be a bit fresher and more attractive. They are the shoddiest reissues out there.


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Didn't Concord go bankrupt at one point due to poor management? If I am correct in this assumption, how in the world did they get back on top of things? Was it the branching out with all the "adult" labels? Was it Glen Barros?

My understanding is that it wasn't Concord Records which went bankrupt, but the holding company which owned Concord (presumably the company which bought Concord from Carl Jefferson). I think it took Barros a long time to get things unravelled, but I don't know who actually 'owns" Concord these days. Concord's distribution has always been hit-and miss, so this new deal will probably help. Whether or not they'll have much that's worth distributing (at least as far as members of this board go) is another matter entirely. But I suppose there's a significant audience out there for "adult" music :rolleyes:

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